Barkley makes an impression

British & Irish Lions hopeful Olly Barkley may not be in line for the Lions captaincy, but the Bath centre can take much of the credit for England's improvement throughout the Six Nations. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions hopeful Olly Barkley may not be in line for the Lions captaincy, but the Bath centre can take much of the credit for England’s improvement throughout the Six Nations.

Barkley can be found stalking the corridors of England’s luxurious Surrey base late at night, using his own time to sit down and talk with his team-mates, building relationships he believes will enhance an inexperienced team come the big kick-off.

The centre’s commitment will stand him in good stead when it comes to this summer’s tour of New Zealand where the need for bonding quickly is even more pressing.

‘When I played in the summer I was asked to come on and make an impact. I saw my role as one to inject some spark into the backline,’ he said.

‘I have adopted more of an organisational role in the Six Nations. It is not one I have done on purpose, but I’ve seen we haven’t had the relationships in the side, we haven’t had that cohesiveness that sides of old have had.

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‘A lot of my role as a playmaker is to find out what other people like to do. There is no point making someone do something they don’t normally do or like to do.

‘I am rooming with Iain Balshaw. We are good mates. I chat to Balsh at night about what he likes to do during the game, how he likes to take the ball and how he likes to get involved in the game.

‘To establish individual relationships with players is very important. Charlie Hodgson and I have it. We spend a lot of time talking.’

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