George Ford admits it’s nice to have his new contract with the club sorted and negotiations “done and dusted” after months of speculation surrounding the international fly-half dragged on throughout and following the recent Rugby World Cup.
Speaking with LTTV following the announcement that the Tigers No.10 had re-committed to Leicester, Ford said: “For it to be done and dusted is good … it’s time to put it to one side and moved forward, it’s positive.”
However, in a blunt assessment of the club’s current situation and disappointing results over recent seasons, since the Tigers Academy graduate returned to where his professional career started as a 16-year-old in 2017, Ford admitted he struggled with the decision and required guarantees from club officials that change and “stability” was on the horizon.
“This is a game that is about more than an individual … a whole group of people make a great team and a great club"
Not one to mince his words, of which he is well-known for having few to share unless absolutely necessary, the 26-year-old admitted it there was no “overnight fix” and also accepted he felt a sense of responsibility to remain and see the club he loves back to the top of the English and European rugby.
“It’s going to be small building blocks, rebuilding little and often, rather than an overnight fix … that’s the bit that was difficult for me,” said Ford.
“I love this club … it’s not anywhere near where people want it to be.
“If I didn’t believe we could make improvements, it might have been a different story, but I genuinely believe that.”
The England international also pointed towards loyalty to Leicester and wanting see the tough times through alongside his Leicester team-mates.
“I believe in sticking it out through tough times and coming out at the other end,” he told LTTV.
“This is a game that is about more than an individual … a whole group of people make a great team and a great club.
“I want to be successful, part of a team that is winning trophies … and in an environment that is doing that.”
As well as his contract, Ford opened up on his own impressive form in recent years that has seen the fly-half become one of the world’s best, working with his father – and Tigers attack coach – Mike Ford at Bath Rugby and again in Leicester during the past two seasons and shared an insight into the father-son relationship in a professional and personal capacity.
Ford also discussed the leadership of Geordan Murphy and faith he has in his former team-mate, turned head coach in his role at the top.
“It’s a positive change with Geordie at the top … you couldn’t ask for a more die hard Leicester man than Geordie,” Ford said.
In a nod to Tigers supporters and staff, Ford also opened up on the influence over his decision that being able to call Welford Road home and playing in front of Tigers supporters had ahead of his re-commitment to remain in the East Midlands.
Watch Ford’s interview with LTTV in full above.