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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Hodgson primed for Pumas
Charlie Hodgson in training in Buenos Aires
Hodgson will win his fifth cap against Argentina
Charlie Hodgson is ready to thrive on the pressure he will feel in the England spotlight against Argentina on Saturday.

The Sale stand-off faces the biggest test of his rugby life filling in for Jonny Wilkinson against the Pumas in Buenos Aires.

Hodgson must mark his fifth cap by proving he can control a match at international level and kick his goals in a cauldron like the Velez Sarsfield stadium.

The Yorkshireman scored an England record 43 points on his debut against Romania last November.


It is critical for us to have a genuine option at number 10
Clive Woodward
England manager

But now manager Clive Woodward wants the 21-year-old to prove his class when his team are on the back foot.

Woodward's callow side - featuring five new caps - will start as outsiders against a Pumas outfit that beat Six Nations champions France last weekend.

But Hodgson is comfortable shouldering that burden of responsibility.

"This is a great opportunity for me," he said.

"Clive has given me the chance to play in a game that will have a hostile atmosphere, and it will be a superb learning experience.

"I could hardly have a better opportunity to show the coaches what I can do.

Jonny Wilkinson is among the senior England players left at home
Jonny Wilkinson has been rested by England
"It is up to me to control the game and play to the way that Clive wants me to dictate it," he added.

"It's difficult to say what it will be like out there on Saturday - I won't have experienced anything similar before - but I think that I will be able to handle it all right.

"I like pressure, and this is exactly the sort of thing that you have got to overcome."

Woodward considers blooding Hodgson to be one of the main purposes of the trip.

He said: "This will be his first start against a team of genuine Test match quality, and it's a big opportunity for him.

"He is an outstanding player, and it is critical for us to have a genuine option at number 10."

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"We've got to stay calm"

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