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  • 13 May
    Bath fly-half George Ford has revealed his desire to continue playing for England by insisting he has no intention of linking up with his father at Toulon.The 23-year-old was last week reportedly attracting the interest of the Top-14 side, whose ambitious and wealthy owner Mourad Boudjellal recently appointed Fords dad Mike as coach.That led to England head coach Eddie Jones giving an ultimatum to his players, stating he would only select squad members based in this country, which is the same policy that saw Steffon Armitage left out in the cold during Stuart Lancasters regime.But Ford revealed he is not interest in making an immediate move to France.I dont know what was going on there last week to be honest, he told the Telegraph. It was news to me anyway. Ive never met Mourad. Obviously my dads there but I want to play for England so I want to play in England.After it all came out I had a quick chat with Eddie and said: I dont know where all thats come from. It escalated a little bit but none of it is true and I just want to crack on basically.Ive not met the guy but hes very ambitious and tries to build a squad with some world-class players there. You hear names every week who Toulon are trying to sign.They havent got a bad squad as it is - I dont know why they need to sign anyone else. But hopefully theyll sign a few for my dads sake.Ford has not totally ruled out playing in France in the future, though.I think it would be a great life experience playing somewhere like France, Ford added.It is a different way of playing and living - youd probably see the sun and the beach a lot more. I suppose its something quite a lot of the lads have done and probably will do. Ill see where I am in a few years time.Ford also says he fully expected his rugby obsessed England teammate Owen Farrell to make a stunning return from the back injury that delayed the start to his season.The childhood friends are set to continue as twin playmakers when South Africa visit Twickenham on Saturday with Ford operating at fly-half and Farrell at inside centre.Farrell missed the opening six weeks of the season through a niggling injury that prevented him from kicking, but marked his comeback with a man-of-the-match performance in Saracens 33-21 victory over Toulon on October 15.I wasnt surprised by Owens form. He would have been on top of things constantly even if he was not training to his full capacity, Ford said.He is obsessed with the game. Hed have watched the games on TV and hed have been having input with his team at Saracens.Mentally he would have been on it and I am sure physically he would have been doing as much as he can to put himself in the best position he could for when he returned.I am sure you would have seen hes playing brilliantly and picked up where he left off in Australia.Farrell is one of three England players shortlisted for World Rugbys player of the year award, alongside Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje, with the winners announced on Sunday.There have been some outstanding performers in the team and those three especially. Other players could have made it as well, Ford said.The reflection of that is the way the team has gone. If the team are not winning every Test match then there are going to be less names on that list and less chance of lads playing to their potential. Sam Darnold Jersey Sales . 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Everybody knows who `they are.The team has been locked in a staredown with Fitzpatrick and his representatives all winter, spring and, now, summer. Fitzpatrick set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes last year while leading the Jets within a victory of a playoff spot. But he and the Jets have failed to come to an agreement on a deal that would satisfy both sides.So, for now, Geno Smith is the starter again -- just as he was a year ago, before a punch from a teammate broke his jaw during camp and pushed Fitzpatrick into the role he never relinquished even when Smith got healthy.Forte was one of five Jets players who spoke to the media on report day, along with center Nick Mangold, safety Marcus Gilchrist and linebackers David Harris and Erin Henderson. Each of them sidestepped questions about Fitzpatrick, deferring to Bowles.The Jets coach was scheduled to speak to the media for the first time Thursday after the first training camp practice.I have talked to Fitz, said Mangold, one of the quarterbacks best friends on the team. Do I talk football or business? No, because I ask him how his kids are doing, hows your golf game, those type of things. As far as his mindset, I have no idea.When pressed about whether hes curious about whats going on, Mangold came up with an unusual comparison: those who go to smell the stench of the corpse flower at the New York Botanical Garden.Yes, really.Curiosity is going to get you over to that plant in the Bronx and smell that terrible smell, Mangold said. Yeah, the corpse flower. Curiosity is going to get you to smell something. Some people want to smell something bad. Some people want to find out different mindsets. I dont particularly care.Mangold reiterated thhat he has no control over the contract situation with Fitzpatrick and is focused now only on who is actually in camp.ddddddddddddHopefully, things get worked out, he said. If they dont, they dont. If they do, thats great. I have no control over it, so I dont particularly worry about it.If Fitzpatrick doesnt come back, then the job is all Smiths. Forte, who signed with New York in March as a free agent, was impressed by what he saw during the offseason.You could see his arm strength, his accuracy and his decision-making were pretty good, Forte said. There werent too many drills we were doing where there was pressure, but his timing and calling timeouts, he made good decisions on that. Going against our defense, which is no slack of a defense, it was good to see him do that and I was impressed by him.Several players, such as wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, made it clear early in the offseason that they would like to see Fitzpatrick return. That might have created a bit of an awkward situation for Smith, who has tried to approach the offseason as though hell be the starter in Week 1 against Cincinnati.Nobody knows except him, Harris said of Smith. But hes not going around throwing a pity party for himself. I know that.Fitzpatrick wasnt the only player not in attendance when the rest of the team arrived. Linebacker Darron Lee, the teams first-round draft pick, reached an agreement on a four-year deal worth $10.2 million with the Jets later Wednesday.Lee, who was with the team for offseason workouts and minicamp, is expected to have a big role immediately in Bowles defense as a hybrid linebacker who can play in different spots on the field because of his speed and athleticism.Hell be here in time, Harris said a few hours before Lee signed. I dont know when, but it happens all around the league. Its the business side of it and I respect it. Im pretty sure hell come here ready to go when he does get here. I know what type of player he is and I know hes going to be in his playbook the days hes not here, so Im not worried about that.---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '