Saints and England full-back Ben Foden believes he will be forced to play second fiddle to Mike Brown in Saturday’s first Test against Argentina.
Foden has been back to his best in recent weeks, scoring a try in a superb individual showing in his club’s Premiership final defeat to Leicester.
And, last Sunday, he grabbed two scores in England’s 41-21 victory over a CONSUR XV in Montevideo.
It was the perfect way for the 27-year-old to announce himself on the tour of South America, but Foden feels Harlequins’ Brown remains first choice ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with the Pumas in Salta.
“I am a little bit behind,” Foden said.
“Browny has had to be patient to get his shot at 15. He has done very well in the Premiership and he played very well on the wing during the Six Nations so I think I am looking at number two at the moment.
“I have got to fight my way to the top. I am sure he will be playing well at the weekend so I need to make that selection issue as hard as possible for Stuart by performing in training and keeping the pressure on.”
With Ireland full-back Rob Kearney nursing a hamstring tear, it might not only be an England full-back slot that is on the agenda in the coming weeks.
Kearney could be forced to miss the rest of the British & Irish Lions’ tour of Australia, leaving Foden and Brown as possible contenders to replace him.
But neither is thinking about that scenario, especially not Brown, who is wary of losing out to Foden in the contest for the England No.15 shirt.
“If I was to be called up (by the Lions) it would be a dream come true but I am not really thinking about that at all,” said the Quins star.
“I am fully focused on where I am. I have a big job just to get in the team above Fodes, who is a world class player.
“And I am trying to be a leader here as well. It is the first time I have been part of that group and I am really enjoying it.
“It is about setting the right examples on and off the field. (Head coach) Stuart (Lancaster) wants to see leaders push forward and I want to be one of those guys.”