England: Sam Burgess deserves call-up, says Bath's Mike Ford

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
Sam Burgess
Ford says there are good reasons for England boss Stuart Lancaster selecting Burgess

Sam Burgess' leadership skills will be a vital asset for England's World Cup training squad, says Bath head coach Mike Ford.

Burgess, 26, is poised to be included on Wednesday in a party of about 50 players for the summer training camps.

And Ford says there are good reasons for England boss Stuart Lancaster selecting the cross-code star.

"The influence he has and leadership, he always talks about putting the team first," Ford told BBC Radio 5 live.

Burgess 'really enjoying' new role

He added: "He has the type of attitude that says - when the pressure is on - 'give me the ball, we'll be alright'.

"I think playing with George [Ford] every week, playing with Kyle [Eastmond] every week has helped Sam as well. Going into England those guys will bring out his skill-set more often than not."

Having started his union career in the centre after switching from rugby league in 2014, Burgess has recently moved to the back-row, where he will spend "hopefully the next five years" for his club, according to Ford.

"He's beginning to be everything I thought he'd be," added the former England assistant coach.

"The last two weeks he's made the most plays for us, which is fantastic. He's a guy who thrives on being involved. He's done exactly what I want."

Ford says he is not concerned about the difference in opinion over Burgess' position, with England understood to still consider him as an inside-centre.

"Me and Sam talk everyday and he understands that for Bath Rugby, and the way we try and play the game, his skill-set suits the back row for us," Ford said.

"The way England try and play and what Stuart sees is a different matter, we can't control that. If he plays centre he's only making 10 plays a game, not 50 like he is for us, so you aren't getting the best out of him.

"But I think he can easily go back from 6 to 12 if Stuart wants to do that."

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