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Johnson in results business
2 July 2008 09:22am
Despite the huge expectation that has accompanied Martin Johnson's appointment as England manager, he insists he will be judged on results alone.
Johnson, whose reign as England supremo officially started yesterday, has been hailed as the saviour of the nation's rugby team.
The pressure is vast but even his aura will fade if results do not improve.
"I'm aware of the perception of what I'm expected to bring to the job but ultimately it comes down to how well we play on the pitch," he said.
"That's what I'll be judged on. I'm here to make this team better and to improve each player."
Johnson unveiled his first elite player squad yesterday and showed his ruthless streak by axing some high-profile names such as Mike Tindall, Ben Kay, Nick Easter and Joe Worsley.
But generally it was an exciting selection that will have given fans hope after four years of under-achievement broken only by last autumn's shock appearance in the World Cup final.
The two recent drubbings by the All Blacks may paint a bleak picture but Johnson is sanguine about the future.
"All the personnel on the tour now know what it's like to play top-level Test match rugby," he said.
"Two matches against the All Blacks in Auckland and Christchurch is as tough as it gets.
"It's not going to get any more difficult for those guys than what happened in the second week of that tour.
"Some guys had limited Test match experience yet competed very well. They're not inexperienced now - they've done the hardest possible tour.
"The All Blacks were very good and now they know the level they have to reach.
"We have a good squad of players. There is depth there too, although in some areas we have more depth than others.
"There are some new guys there and they need to learn Test match rugby quickly.
"We face a very tough autumn series with matches against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and there is no hiding place."
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