Welcome to hard work, Anthony Allen tells his old pal Ryan Lamb

Anthony AllenLeicester centre Anthony Allen believes that Ryan Lamb, a former fellow young pup at Gloucester, will flourish in the Tigers’ dog-eat-dog environment.

As exclusively revealed by The Rugby Paper last week, Leicester won the race to sign Lamb, 26, who will be joining his third club since leaving Gloucester in 2009.

Allen also departed Kings-holm that year as a bright young thing but whereas Lamb has struggled to fulfil his undoubted potential in spells at London Irish and Northampton, Allen has become a mainstay of the Tigers midfield, racking up 95 appearances.

But while Welford Road has been a launchpad for many players, Allen warned Lamb, below, that it comes with a caveat: he will have to work harder than he ever has done.

“Ryan is a quality ball player and I would definitely love to play with him again,” Allen told The Rugby Paper. “I played with him at Gloucester a long time ago although I have played against him a fair bit since then.

“Coming to Leicester will definitely enhance him as a player. He will have to knuckle down to hard work like we all do, but the club would benefit from having him here.

“When we have the opportunity to play we go and do that. He kicks well and is one of the most skilful players around. As long as the pack is happy with the way he conducts things he will fit right in.

“The difference between Leicester and somewhere like Gloucester is that you get coached.

“That may be a funny answer but you are always told where you are going wrong and given pointers.

“They expect you to work incredibly hard but if you do then you get the rewards and I feel my own game has progressed enormously.” While Allen could not be happier at club level, the lack of international recognition remains a sore point for the 26-year-old.

It is seven years since Allen last pulled on a Red Rose shirt at senior level and he admits that he was not ready for the chances as a wet-behind-the-ears 20-year-old against New Zealand and Argentina in 2006.

Despite his all round game coming on leaps and bounds since then, Allen has had to watch the players either side of him in the Leicester backline receive call-ups while he has stayed put.

That should change in the summer tour of Argentina and Allen says that his second chance is long overdue.

“England has been in the back of my mind,” he said. “I was very young in 2006 and what makes it so frustrating is that I was not really ready “At the time I did not know it and you never know what would have happened if I had not been selected then. Toby Flood was capped the week after me and went on to do what he has done.

“It has been a tough time but you just have to accept it is the coaches’ opinions that matter.

“When they picked the squad before the Six Nations I had a chat with Andy Farrell. It was an interesting conversation. They were very happy with how I was going but they wanted to have a look at Billy Twelvetrees.

“Argentina will be a big opportunity to put myself back into the mix. I have not had a chance to show what I can do and that comes down to actually being selected.”

DANIEL SCHOFIELD

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