Toby Flood: Newcastle fly-half grateful for Leicester Tigers stint
Former England fly-half Toby Flood says leaving the comfort of Newcastle Falcons for the challenge of Leicester Tigers earlier in his career helped mature him as a player.
Flood, 31, returned to the Falcons this summer after nine years away, which included spells at Tigers and French giants Toulouse.
He won three Premierships at Tigers and racked up 60 international caps.
"There was an expectation to win at Tigers," Flood told BBC Newcastle.
"Whenever we went anywhere, it was their (the opposition's) cup final and that was a huge, hard lesson.
"It was a tough mindset to get yourself up for and there were no easy results or games."
Establishing good habits
The Falcons squad that Flood returns to is very different from the one that he left, featuring a host of internationals with genuine hopes of breaking into the European Champions Cup places.
Developing a similar culture and mentality is the ambition at Newcastle, something the Frimley-born playmaker is keen to establish.
"Preparation is key," he added. "If you cheated anything at Leicester; cheated a rep, missed a line, if you didn't do anything out on the field, you'd sit there and watch the boys do it all over again.
"It's accountability to the people are around you, that was embedded in the culture at Leicester. That's what you need to get, the place was run by the players.
"The biggest learning curve was that I was spoon-fed here, to then become personally responsible, and have accountability. For a strong team players have to take control and have to 'own' what they're doing."