Mallinder says Foden will never wing it for Saints

FULL-BACK AT THE GARDENS - Ben Foden
FULL-BACK AT THE GARDENS - Ben Foden

JIM MALLINDER insists he will never ask full-back Ben Foden to wing it for Saints.

Foden was named on the wing for two of England’s three Test matches in South Africa this summer, as Red Rose boss Stuart Lancaster explored his options.

Lancaster handed the full-back spot to Mike Brown in the first Test, with Saracens ace Alex Goode grabbing it for the third.

Foden did get one start in his regular role, but his two showings out wide suggested he could be used there again.

Mallinder was impressed with his man’s displays at 11 but says he has not considered shifting the former Sale player from full-back at Saints.

“I wasn’t surprised (Foden played on the wing for England) because Stuart Lancaster had talked about playing him there,” said the Saints boss.

“They were struggling on the winger front but for us Ben Foden is a full-back and you get more space, time and more ball than you do on the wing.

“He didn’t look out of place on the wing at all but we won’t be considering him as a winger.

“He’s our full-back, that’s his best position but he’s like that, he’ll play anywhere in an England shirt and I thought he did really well playing on the wing.”

Meanwhile, Mallinder has warned Calum Clark will have a fight on his hands to get back into the Saints side after his 32-week ban.

Clark will return on November 2 but Mallinder says it’s unlikely he will get straight back into the side with Saints scheduled to take on Leicester Tigers that weekend.

“Calum’s just got to make sure he’s fit,” said the Saints boss. “It will be a first game back for him so it’s probably unlikely he’ll play.

“We don’t know where we’ll be at that point but Calum will have to work to get back into the side.”

“It’s unfortunate for him because in September and October other players are going to have opportunities to claim that spot in the back row so he’s going to have to work even harder to get back into the first team.”