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England can end drought-Monye

LONDON, January 15- Ugo Monye believes England can ease the pressure mounting on manager Martin Johnson and his staff by winning their first Six Nations title in seven years.This week saw Johnson unveil his squad for this season’s tournament and the man who captained England to their last Six Nations title, a grand slam success in 2003, was confident his side, bolstered by the return of several injured players, could finish top of the table once again.

England were runners-up last season to grand slam winners Ireland but endured a miserable November, losing to Australia and New Zealand while just scraping a win over Argentina.

Harlequins wing Monye, however, said England can forget that trio of poor performances against those southern hemisphere nations when they take on Europe’s finest, starting with their tournament opener at home to Wales at Twickenham on February 6.

"We definitely should go into it thinking that we can win it," Monye said Thursday. "It will be difficult but I think it is definitely possible that we can win it. All we have to do is have the belief that we can do it.

"We have very high expectations of ourselves and just have to have the confidence to win it.

"We have a very good coaching staff and have to have belief within the playing staff that we can win it.

"We have players who are playing well for their teams domestically and we just need them to transfer that form onto the international stage."

Monye played in all three November Tests and had an especially torrid match when switched to full-back against Argentina.

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Meanwhile England’s lack of a cutting edge – they managed just a solitary try, against the Pumas, in three Tests – led to fresh questions about the wisdom of appointing Johnson, who had no previous coaching experience, to the manager’s job and the calibre of his backroom staff.

"There’s nothing wrong with the coaches at all," Monye insisted. "It was a frustrating series for us as a team and it was frustrating for me on a personal level in the second game.

"I had to play two games at full-back but when I was out on the wing I was much more comfortable.

"The criticism made us stronger as a unit and we tried not to get involved," he added.

"It’s not nice hearing it but obviously the management are going to be the first ones in the firing line when things go wrong."



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