Maro Itoje dismissed Clive Woodward’s claim that he looked “out on his feet” during the Six Nations after his man-of-the-match display for Saracens on Saturday.
Former England head coach Woodward felt the British and Irish Lion was jaded as Eddie Jones’ men wilted in the Six Nations, losing three matches in a row to finish fifth.
Itoje did not appear to be in need of a rest as Sarries beat Harlequins 24-11 in the Premiership at London Stadium, the back-row celebrating scoring a try by pretending to be asleep.
The 23-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live: “I think the mind is a powerful thing.
“It was good to be back and I’m feeling good.
“I don’t take any motivation from outside sources. All my motivation comes from my team-mates, my coaches, myself and my family. That’s who I pay attention to. Luckily I’ve got youth on my side and all is well really.”
Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall said Itoje will be monitored in the coming weeks.
“He’s had a quiet week with us in terms of training,” McCall said.
“I think it’s very easy to freshen players up to be honest, but Maro is someone we are going to keep an eye on over the next four weeks.
“But it gives him a lot of confidence going into the big game [a European Champions Cup quarter-final at Leinster] next week.”
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