George Ford hails Joe Marler's 'courageous' move and Eddie Jones' man-management
Joe Marler's "courageous" decision to miss England's summer tour to Australia will have been eased by Eddie Jones' "honest" man-management, according to George Ford.
Harlequins prop Marler this week stood himself down from England duty for next month's three-Test tour of Australia, admitting he was not 100 per cent after recent disciplinary troubles.
England boss Jones offered Ford a few days off from the Brighton training camp this week, in the wake of his club coach and father Mike's departure from Bath.
Jones has explained that Ford declined his offer of a break, but the Bath playmaker revealed England's top players have quickly come to appreciate their international boss' ability to know when to push and when to step back.
"I honestly think it's courageous from Joe," Ford told Press Association Sport, of Marler's decision not to tour with England this summer.
"A lot of people potentially would have tried to get through it, knowing that they wouldn't be 100 per cent to give all they've got.
"So with Joe it's always team first, he's a great lad, everybody loves him, everybody respects his decision.
"And if he feels he can't give what we need, then to be honest like he's done in withdrawing himself, that's really courageous.
"All the lads respect him, they love him as a team-mate and I'm sure he'll be back."
Marler recently revealed he has sought the help of former England cricketer-turned sports psychologist Jeremy Snape to cut out the disciplinary problems that have blighted the second half of his season.
The Harlequins front-rower was first banned for abusing Wales prop Samson Lee by calling him "Gypsy boy", before kicking Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy in the head just 26 minutes into his return to action.
Marler believes he needs to rest rather than tour Australia in order to return to 100 per cent, and has been given unequivocal backing by England boss Jones.
While former Australia coach Jones is well-known for his taskmaster style, Ford believes his recent actions with Marler and others point to a level of empathy that the England squad hold in high respect.
Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson this week revealed Jones has given him his blessing that chasing a Team GB Sevens berth at the summer's Olympics over aiming to tour Australia will not dent his future Test match ambitions.
Ford believes Jones' measured handling of all these scenarios underscores a growing two-way trust between England's management and players.
"Eddie totally understands it, he knows lads go through difficult stages in their career," said Ford of England boss Jones' man-management skills.
"He knows lads potentially want to go and achieve different things.
"But the best thing with him is that he talks to you all the time, he's honest with you, he lets you know where he stands, he lets you know what he thinks.
"And that's all you need as a player, because if you understand what he's thinking and you get his backing on certain things then you can go and crack on do what you do."
Ford was on hand at Twickenham on Friday, to be among the first to trial the Samsung Slider, the innovative sliding pitch-side seat that will offer an added viewing element to fans flocking to the HSBC London Sevens this weekend.
The mobile seating sits on an 80-metre track running parallel to the Twickenham pitch, allowing spectators' position to move in flux with the action on the field.
Ford believes the experience could give fans a greater appreciation of the pace of the sport.
"Sitting here it's as close as I've ever experienced to the pitch," said Ford.
"It will give the fans a greater appreciation of how big the collisions are, to ultimately see how testing the game actually is.
"From the stands the game can sometimes look easier than it actually is, so fans will perhaps appreciate that a bit more."
:: Rugby fans are set to enjoy the greatest live sports viewing experience in the world as the Samsung Slider arrives at Twickenham for the HSBC London Sevens.