Mike Catt backs Owen Farrell for Lions

Catt backs Farrell for Lions
© AP Photos
Mike Catt says that a Jonny Wilkinson-like Owen Farrell can play his way into the British & Irish Lions team this summer.

England skills coach Mike Catt believes that fly-half Owen Farrell has what it takes to earn selection for the British & Irish Lions tour this summer.

Farrell will line up against Ireland's Jonathan Sexton in the Six Nations this weekend, with the Irish star deemed the favourite to land the number 10 spot for the Lions later this year.

However, Catt says that Farrell boasts the same "exceptional" mental toughness that the likes of England legend Jonny Wilkinson have possessed, and can go on to represent the Lions.

"I guess a lot of people are going to look at it as a head-to-head thing from a Lions point of view," Catt said. "Both played exceptionally well last weekend and it is another game for both to put their hands up and say, 'right, take me on the Lions tour'.

"Owen's mental toughness is exceptional. I haven't [come across many players like that]. Wilko was one of them. He is such a focused individual; he is so good at blocking out all the hype and everything that goes with it. He won't worry if it is Dan Carter, Sexton or Ronan O'Gara opposite him.

"What we want from our 10s is that ability to play flat or sit back in the pocket and kick. It's about getting that balance right at Test level, that's where Sexton is so very, very good. Now, it's about making sure these young [England] guys see it too. We're focusing on the detail of how to break down defences and that is helping him. Owen's enjoying himself at the moment, he's buzzing like everyone else."

England travel to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Ben Kay in 2009
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