Barritt content to fly under radar

York Press: Brad Barritt's organisation, defence and leadership skills are viewed as indispensable Brad Barritt's organisation, defence and leadership skills are viewed as indispensable

If Brad Barritt is frustrated by his lack of recognition as the most influential member of England's midfield, he refuses to acknowledge it.

When Manu Tuilagi was passed fit for the RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland, the consensus was that Barritt would be demoted to accommodate the Leicester Tiger and Billy Twelvetrees. To England's coaching team, however, the South African-born 26-year-old's organisation, defence and leadership skills are viewed as indispensable, resulting in Tuilagi's selection on the bench.

And the Saracens centre said: "No, not at all was I irritated when people said Manu and Billy should play. As a player, especially playing for England, there's always the pressure to get in the side and that's never changed. It's a huge honour to play for England. As long as I'm involved I'm a very happy man."

He added: "Each week you build the respect of the players around you and grow into the role in the team. You always want to play a key role in the side. I like to think of myself as someone who is very adaptable

"When we have that attacking element I can play a big role in the team's attacking game, but also be a calm voice and take a lead in defence when matches are tight. I like to see myself as being adaptable to what the game is."

Victories over Scotland and Ireland has placed England at the summit of the Six Nations table as the only team capable of winning the Grand Slam, a prize they last claimed in 2003.

Adding to their commanding position in the championship is their ability to vary their game with the four tries scored against the Scots contrasting with the hard-nosed approach taken in Dublin.

Ireland were more experienced and expected to be wiser in the conditions, but it was Stuart Lancaster's side that showed encouraging maturity and composure to triumph on an afternoon when it was better not to have the ball.

"The level of execution needed to produce a performance like that in tough conditions underpins everything we've been doing as a team and shows how far we've come," Barritt said.

"The composure was a key element that we spoke about before the game. We knew the Irish would be buoyant with the home crowd behind them and that our composure and discipline would keep us in it."

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