Positions now nailed down, says Johnson

ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson insists every member of his team has come out of a gruelling autumn campaign a better player. And he believes they will go from strength to strength as they gear up for an assault on the World Cup next year.

“There is a huge amount of potential in this team and they will only get better. Individually every player has come out of this series better,” Johnson (below) said yesterday, in the wake of Saturday’s loss to South Africa.

“We wanted to build a team, to have guys who could nail down a shirt and have the ability and character to stay there and the toughness to be the best player in the country week in and week out. Lots of these guys have started every game now. They are the England players in that position. You want that continuity.”

November saw England largely fare well against the might of the southern hemisphere sides, and Johnson believes his team are closing in on those at the very top.

“The All Blacks are ahead as No1 in the world,” he added. “South Africa are up there with the Aussies. A few other teams are chasing them down and I think the field is coming together.”