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“He’s strong, he’s fast, he’s hugely competitive”-Phil Dowson piles praise on Ollie Sleightholme

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Phil Dowson believes Ollie Sleightholme is destined for greatness following his remarkable season to date.

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Phil Dowson believes Ollie Sleightholme is destined for greatness following his remarkable season.

The Northampton Saints winger currently leads the try-scoring charts this season with 9 tries so far this campaign, and has cemented a spot in the exciting Saints backline alongside the likes of Tommy Freeman, Fraser Dingwall and Alex Mitchell.

Speaking to Rugby Nause News ahead of his side’s clash with Saracens, Dowson was full of praise for the 23-year-old: “Ollie is a very, very good athlete. He’s strong, he’s fast, from a personality point of view he’s hugely competitive, he’s tough, he’s physical. I think you see all of those things in the way he plays.”

He added: “I think over the last couple of seasons he’s been unfortunate with a lot of small, annoying injuries which has stopped him from playing week in week out; and I think-like every other player in the world by the way-the more he plays the better he gets.

“With the players he’s got around him and with Sam’s coaching and the rest of the coaches pushing him forward I think he’s in a very good situation and somebody that we are really excited about.”

Whilst he is clearly grabbing headlines-and scoring viral tries like the one against Bristol-for Northampton, Sleightholme has also seen himself called into the England A squad this year.

Sleightholme was one of 32 players called into the wider training squad for their match against Portugal, a squad which was mainly picked by Steve Borthwick.

The talented back might not have got onto the pitch for the reformed second-string England team, but Dowson believes he is heading in the right direction to win international honours.

When asked if Sleightholme has the credentials to play test level, Dowson responded: “I think so. From my point of view, he’s certainly got the athleticism and I think he’s got a good skill set, and he’s continuing to work on those. You’d love to think that he could (make the step up) and he clearly has ambitions for that so we’ll continue to develop him and push him as hard as we can.”

Dowson added: “He has ambitions to play at that top level, as to whether he’s got the skills or is capable that’s probably a decision for Steve Borthwick, but he’s already on the radar with the England A, which is very promising.”