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Johnson insists he'd be 'comfortable' on wing for Lions

Jonathan Joseph with England Credit: PA

Jonathan Joseph has insisted he would be "comfortable" on the wing in the British and Irish Lions' Test series.

The England centre was close to forcing his way onto the bench for Saturday's 30-15 first Test defeat to New Zealand in Auckland.

The Bath flyer missed out with Leigh Halfpenny preferred, but now has another chance to impress in Tuesday's Hurricanes clash in Wellington.

Joseph will be among a clutch of stars bidding to play their way into the squad for Saturday's second Test, and he admitted he would happily cover wing to win the right to face the All Blacks.

I'd feel confident playing there, I've played there before.

Being a rugby player, you're used to slotting into different positions. And yeah, I feel confident there.

The type of player I am I feel it's not too tough for me to shift onto the wing, like Elliot Daly.

I feel like we're quite similar players.

So potentially I could slot onto the wing if needed.

But everyone of course wants to get into that Saturday team, and to do so in their preferred position.

[I've] not massively [trained for the position]. Maybe I'll slot myself in there tomorrow, just in case!

– Jonathan Joseph

U-20 boss Simpson: English coaches proving their worth

Paul Simpson guided England U-20s to World Cup victory Credit: PA

World Cup winner Paul Simpson insists English coaches are proving they are good enough to take the top jobs.

The former Carlisle boss guided the England Under-20s to World Cup glory in South Korea earlier this month.

Now Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd is one game away from the Euro 2017 final, with the Young Lions featuring in Tuesday's semi-finals against Germany in Tychy.

Boothroyd joined the Football Association just months after being sacked by Northampton in 2013, with the Cobblers bottom of the Football League.

He had been criticised for employing a direct style during his club management career, but Simpson believes Boothroyd and others - including Under-17 boss Steve Cooper - are showing they can cut it.

A coach can coach whichever way they want to or are asked to, and Aidy has shown that with the FA, as have all the national coaches. We've got a really good group of national coaches, all from different backgrounds.

We talk about English players not getting opportunities at the highest level, you can say the same about English coaches. But there is no point moaning about it.

We've got to show we are good enough to get top jobs, and if we do that the big job offers will come. And hopefully the trend of looking to appoint managers from overseas all the time will buck.

Don't get me wrong, there are some top foreign coaches and managers around, but I think we've got some good English ones as well.

I wouldn't have been invited to Poland to co-commentate on the Under-21s had we not won in South Korea, that's for sure.

There have been so many summers when we've had disappointments with the development teams and the seniors so this is a lovely change and long may it continue.

– Paul Simpson


Lewis Baker says pressure is off England U-21s

Lewis Baker is a critical player in England's under-21 side Credit: PA

England Under-21 midfielder Lewis Baker has vowed they have no fear as they plot Euro 2017 glory.

The Young Lions are in the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time since 2009 after winning Group A in Poland.

They have moved to Krakow from their previous base in Kielce as they prepare for Tuesday's last four game against Germany in Tychy.

And Chelsea man Baker insisted England are not frightened of any team, including favourites Spain - who they can only meet in the final.

Baker started the tournament playing further forward but has dropped deeper after John Swift was introduced in the second game - a 2-1 win over Slovakia.

The 22-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, still scored a penalty in Thursday's 3-0 win over Poland which booked a semi-final spot and is happy with whatever role boss Aidy Boothroyd gives him.

I like to do a bit of both defending and attacking, trying to get from box to box, is what my game is all about. Whatever [system] the manager thinks is best we have to go with that.

I think the pressure has come off us a little bit now because we got through the group stages and into the semi-finals but I know the boys want to go as far as we can and we're all looking to achieve something big.

We've been in big games before like at the Toulon tournament last year when we won that.

As a team and a squad we're used to playing together in important matches so we'll just take it in our stride.

As you start playing more and more games the momentum starts building and the confidence builds and we've started playing like we know we can.

– Lewis Baker

Watford sign England U21 star Hughes from Derby

Will Hughes has joined Derby. Credit: PA

Watford have announced the signing of England Under-21 midfielder Will Hughes.

The 22-year-old, currently in Poland with the Young Lions, will leave Derby for an undisclosed fee and has signed a five-year deal at Vicarage Road.

The move to Marco Silva's side completes a journey that has been long in the making for Hughes.

He has been spoken of as a Premier League prospect ever since making his Derby breakthrough in 2011 as a 16-year-old.

One-hundred-and-eight-seven appearances for the Rams later, Watford have decided now is the time to give Hughes his chance.

Watford say Hughes will complete the move when he returns from Poland, with England Under-21s waiting to find out their semi-final opponents at Euro 2017.

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