Leaving Leicester Tigers was the toughest decision, admits fly-half George Ford
George Ford has described his decision to leave Leicester Tigers as "one of the toughest" he has ever made.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill revealed last week that the 19-year-old had told him he wants to leave Welford Road when his 12-month contract is up at the end of the season, with Premiership rivals Bath seeming the likely destination.
Ford, who is set to make his second start for England Saxons at home to Scotland tomorrow, said it was something he had mulled over in his mind for a long time.
"It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make, and I didn't take it likely," he said.
"I spent a lot of time mulling it over and thinking about it.
"But it is over now and I will be 100 per cent committed to Tigers and doing everything I can to make sure we win something this season."
Ford's decision was not looked upon kindly by Cockerill, who said he was disappointed by the teenager's rejection of a new deal.
Cockerill said Tigers had done "everything they could, both financially and contractually" to keep him at Welford Road.
But Ford said the issue of game-time, by being out in the middle as often as possible, was imperative as he continues to improve his game.
As it stands, Ford has made nine starts to Toby Flood's 12 so far this season.
"It is difficult when you are on the bench and you are coming on for 10 or 20 minutes each game," said Ford.
"Playing a full 80 minutes is what I need to be doing. Like any young player, you need to be playing and, the more you play, the better you get.
"For any young player who is willing to learn and progress in their career, they need to be playing as much as they can.
"I will hopefully be playing in a few games during the rest of the season and challenging for the No.10 shirt.
"Hopefully, it will be a successful season and we can win things at Tigers."
Ford's immediate attention, however, will be to the national cause as he and the rest of the England Saxons prepare to take on Scotland at Newcastle tomorrow night.
The fly-half played a key role in the Saxons' win against Ireland in Galway last Friday and, having been on the wrong end of a real thumping by Scotland A last year, Ford is keen for a second victory in eight days.
"Friday was a good start and I am hoping to improve again this week," he said.
"It is a great experience for us all to be involved. There are quite a few new lads who are playing, and it is another step up from the under-20s that most of us played last year.
"It is different to the Premiership, playing against a different group of lads.
"I have been looking forward to this for a while.
"To get a start and get a couple of games under my belt is exactly what I wanted."