England captain Owen Farrell should not be dropped for his performances in this year’s Six Nations, says former international team-mate Danny Care.
Farrell’s lacklustre showings in the side’s first two games have drawn criticism, including from former England captain Matt Dawson.
But Care says head coach Eddie Jones must “stick with” Farrell for England’s trip to Cardiff on 27 February.
“Only last year everyone was loving Owen Farrell,” he said.
After leading England to a World Cup final in 2019, Farrell, 29, helped the side to Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup titles last year.
“People were saying he was the best player in the world and nearly won us a World Cup. Now they are screaming for him not to play,” Care continued on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly.
“Everybody can have an occasional game where everything doesn’t go brilliantly for them.”
Farrell played at fly-half against Scotland – pushing George Ford to the bench – before moving to inside centre for the win over Italy.
Care said Ford should play at 10 and Farrell at 12 for the Wales game, which England must win if they are to have any real hope of defending their title.
As well as the captaincy, Farrell is responsible for goal-kicking and before England’s opening Six Nations game had not played since early December.
Former England wing Ugo Monye says the Saracens back will be “feeling the pressure” as England captain following a shaky start to the tournament.
“He is such a dominant character and leader that, when it goes well, you can attribute a big performance to him,” Monye said.
“When it doesn’t go so well and you are that dominant a figure, some of those errors get attributed to you. I think he is probably finding it a bit tough right now.”