SPORTS COMMENT: What does Myler have to do to be given his England chance?

PREMIERSHIP CHAMPION - Stephen Myler inspired Saints to glory in the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Aviva Premiership last season, but still England boss Stuart Lancaster (below) won't give him a Test chance
PREMIERSHIP CHAMPION - Stephen Myler inspired Saints to glory in the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Aviva Premiership last season, but still England boss Stuart Lancaster (below) won't give him a Test chance
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Picture the scene. It’s World Cup final day at Twickenham. The stadium is awash with white, with expectant fans desperate to see their nation lift the William Webb Ellis trophy.

The game is a nail-biter. England have been pushed all the way and are a single point behind as the clock ticks down.

England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster during the captains run at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 3, 2012. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. No book use without prior permission. ENGNNL00220120220115316

England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster during the captains run at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday February 3, 2012. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. No book use without prior permission. ENGNNL00220120220115316

Suddenly, Tom Wood wins a penalty at the breakdown and England have a shot at goal which will see them claim a famous 17-15 victory and taste World Cup glory for the first time since 2003.

Owen Farrell was injured in the semi-final, pulling a muscle after excitedly kicking the ball into the crowd when celebrating a try against France.

And so the nation needs a hero.

Someone to keep their nerve in what is a career-defining moment.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140106-093750006

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140106-093750006

A calm head is called for. Who would you choose?

Would it be Freddie Burns, an enigmatic fly-half who can blow hot and cold?

Would it be Danny Cipriani, who is in a similar mould?

Would it be George Ford, the player said to be England’s great young hope at fly-half, but who has shown a tendency to struggle from the tee in the biggest matches?

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140106-092440006

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140106-092440006

Or would it be Stephen Myler, a man who has shown, time and again, that he can deal with the pressure the biggest matches bring?

Which one would you want taking that kick?

It would surely be the Saints man, who has been metronomic in every big final he has played.

He kicked Saints to victory in the European Challenge Cup final in 2009, landing five penalties in a 15-3 win against Bourgoin.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140524-130642006

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140524-130642006

He landed three of his four kicks against Leinster in the Heineken Cup final of 2011, with his team’s tiredness eventually ending their bid.

He landed seven of his eight kicks in the Amlin Challenge Cup triumph against Bath last month, outshining Ford, who went to pieces during the second half, missing three consecutve shots at goal that cost his team dear.

And Myler rounded off a season, in which his late kicks had earned victories at Wasps and Exeter, with a man-of-the-match showing in the Premiership final against Saracens.

But his success in that game has come at a price.

As it has transpired, it ruined his chances of making a Test appearance in New Zealand.

Instead, this weekend, in the absence of the injured Farrell, Burns, who started the first Test against the All Blacks, starts. Cipriani is on the bench.

Myler? Well, he is once again consigned to being an also-ran. An after-thought, as Stuart Lancaster gives others chances.

The Saints man has made just one Test appearance, coming off the bench during the tour of Argentina last year.

It might have been a proud moment, but it was only achieved because Farrell was on the Lions tour and Lancaster’s squad was stretched.

Quite simply, Myler has never really been given the chance he merits.

Some will say he isn’t the future.

That Burns, at 24, Cipriani, at 26, and, especially Ford, at 21, are the future.

The men to take England forward in next year’s World Cup.

But though Myler will be 31 by the time the gargantuan tournament comes round, he will still have plenty of miles left in him.

And he will have the experience of huge club matches under his belt.

However, the way it is going, he won’t have experience of playing for England on the grandest stages.

And that will count against him.

It could even be used as a reason not to pick him, which would be unfair as he has more than merited more opportunities.

His kicking perecentage in the Premiership last season was comfortably above 80 per cent. Above Farrell. Above Ford. Above Cipriani. And above Burns.

Of course, kicking percentages aren’t everything, we hear.

You must have flair and a certain swagger.

But if you have the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Mike Brown and Danny Care in your backline, do you need an expansive No.10?

Or do you just need someone whose composure allows those players to flourish?

That is what has served Saints so well this season, with Myler, many fans’ choice for player of the season, helping bring the best out of the likes of Kahn Fotuali’i, George North and Luther Burrell, who has been gushing in his praise of his club-mate.

But it would be wrong to say that Myler is just a steady Eddie. Someone who relies on others to bring the spark.

In the past couple of seasons, he has been near the top of the assist charts and he has been working tirelessly to expand his game.

Watch the Bath game at The Rec in early May, when his incredible back door pass saw Jamie Elliott score a crucial try.

Watch his clever pass in the midweek win against Crusaders, when Myler was given a meagre 33 minutes to impress off the bench.

And listen to Alex King, the astute attack coach, who, having worked with world stars at Clermont Auvergne and played with them at Wasps, couldn’t be more impressed with Northampton’s No.10.

Those who watch Myler every week recognise that he is more than a one-trick pony. That he has all the tools to be a Test fly-half.

It is just a shame Lancaster doesn’t.