Ben Earl reveals how close friend and England batsman Zak Crawley has helped him to stay positive during an up and down season… with Saracens flanker out to boost his World Cup hopes in Sunday’s Premiership final
- Ben Earl and Zak Crawley have been and out of their sides at Test level
- Earl will be a key figure for Saracens in Saturday’s Premiership final against Sale
- Flanker hopes to impress England boss Steve Borthwick with big performance
Ben Earl and Zak Crawley both know a thing or two about ups and downs with England in their respective sports and the close friends are hoping for two strong summers internationally.
Saracens and England flanker Earl and England batsman Crawley have been and out of their sides at Test level amid a combination of up and down form and plenty of competition.
Crawley is a part of England’s cricket squad for this year’s Ashes. Earl will be a key figure for Saracens in Saturday’s Premiership final with Sale at Twickenham and has plans to feature for England this summer to win a place in head coach Steve Borthwick’s World Cup squad.
‘It’s been an interesting season for me,’ said Earl, who was last year’s Premiership player of the year but has remained on the England periphery.
‘I think I’ve played as consistently as I did last year. There’s no point winning some of the accolades I did last year and not backing it up. Selfishly, the elephant in the room is I wish I could have played a bit more for England in that Six Nations campaign. For whatever reason, I didn’t.’
Ben Earl will be a key figure for Saracens in Saturday’s Premiership final with Sale
Ben Earl and England batsman Zak Crawley have been and out of their sides at Test level
Asked who he leans on for support when not selected at international level, Earl cites England team-mate Jamie George and the rest of his Saracens team-mates and backroom staff.
‘There’s Zak from the cricket world. He’s a good mate of mine. We catch up a lot obviously with the peaks and troughs of his form as well,’ Earl added.
‘There’s a lot of relevance there. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one that’s thinking about it day and night.
‘I lean on a few people but at the end of the day it’s my problem. I‘ve got to fix it.
‘The moment you start looking for excuses is probably the moment you give somebody the reason to drop you. Steve was unbelievably positive about my work in the Six Nations.
‘Unfortunately selection didn’t always go my way but I’m trying to stay positive and put my best foot forward in these big games which are probably the games he’s looking at the most.’
Asked why he thought he had been left out by England earlier this year, Earl responded: ‘I can’t lie and say I haven’t been giving it some thought.
‘If I get a chance to play a Test this summer, I’ve got to play well. You look at how competitive my position is.
‘It always feels the person who slips up first is going to be the one that misses out.
‘That’s a big thing for me this summer – rest up and be rejuvenated for what will be a tough summer.’
Borthwick will undoubtedly be watching the Premiership final with the flanker battle between Earl and Tom Curry one of a number of intriguing head to heads.
Flanker hopes to impress England boss Steve Borthwick with big performance on Saturday
‘Tom’s a good mate of mine. We’ve played rugby together since I was 16,’ Earl said.
‘We know each other’s games pretty well. He’s had a bit of time out this year, but what a quality player – one I’ve aspired to emulate and be like for some time.
‘To come up against him is a good honour. I’ve always wanted to celebrate a win. Coming a little bit short last year has only made this group hungrier and me hungrier.
‘To win the league after such a long slog with your boyhood club would be everything.’
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