Maro Itoje wants to be part of England set up at least until 2027 Rugby World Cup

Maro Itoje was a key member in England's 2019 and 2023 World Cup campaigns
Maro Itoje was a key member in England's 2019 and 2023 World Cup campaigns

England have received a major boost ahead of the upcoming Six Nations campaign with Saracens lock Maro Itoje expressing his desire to continue playing for the side at least until the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

The news follows after his club team-mate Owen Farrell decided to move to Racing 92 at the end of the ongoing season also effectively ruling him out of England selection as they do not select players plying trade overseas.

There were reports of Itoje also receiving offers from French clubs but the 29-year-old admitted it would “eat me up inside” if he could not play for England by moving to an overseas club.

“Lord, you really can’t take these opportunities for granted,” Itoje told The Times.

“At the bare minimum I want to be at the next World Cup. I obviously want to play for the Lions, put myself in position to be selected.

“Being at this last World Cup was an amazing experience. The passion of the fans, the atmosphere, buzz, excitement. It’s a drug that it’s hard to stay away from so I would love the opportunity to do that again.

“To play for England as a competitor, it’s the greatest opportunity for me to shine. It’s the greatest opportunity for me to fully express myself and express my competitive juices. It’s well and truly an honour.

“You can get used to how things can go. At every Test since Covid, when we were playing behind closed doors, I look around as I sing the national anthem and I think to myself, ‘Wow, this is special. Not many people get to experience this in the way that I’m experiencing this. This is well and truly a blessing’.

“So if I was to step away from playing English rugby, playing for England now, I know a part of me would be eaten up inside.”

Itoje also became the second England player after newly appointed skipper Jamie George to sign sign a hybrid contract with the Rugby Football Union.

He made his England debut in 2016 and played a key role in England reaching the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the semi-final in the last year's edition in France. He has overall 76 caps to his name and represented British and Irish Lions in the 2017 and 2021 tours.

“I definitely have a role to play,” added Itoje.

“I want to do that through my performance first and foremost. I want to be the best player I can be. I know if I am that then I will set a good example for the rest of the team, and some of the younger and older guys in our team.

“Secondly, through how I am around the place, the way I speak to people. Given my ripe age of 29, I have a bit of experience now.

"I want to help Jamie and Steve create an environment where people love being and everyone enjoys being here, but we also get stuck into the rugby. We want to progress the team and move forward as a team.