Feb 03, 2017
England U20 skipper Earl a 'natural leader' - Barrell
Saracens academy manager Don Barrell believes England U20 have appointed a ‘natural leader with maturity beyond his years’ after it was announced that flanker Ben Earl will skipper the U20 side against France on Saturday earlier today.
Earl, who is part of the academy set-up at Allianz Park, will follow in the footsteps of Saracens and England star Maro Itoje in captaining the U20 team. Barrell believes the a highly-rated back rower from Tonbridge School in Kent is the perfect man for the job to skipper a side that also include Sarries academy trio Nick Isiekwe, Jack Nay and Max Malins.
“Ben is a natural leader with maturity beyond his years,” said Barrell. “He’s a role-model for other players coming through the ranks because of the way he conducts himself both on and off the field. He’s a self-regulator - he sets his own standards and he does his very best to get the best outcomes for him and people around him. Not only is he a hard-worker in his rugby he is studying English Literature at Queen Mary University of London - he is a very impressive young man. We’re delighted for him that he’s been recognised in such a way.
“It’s fantastic to see Nick (Isiekwe), Jack (Nay) and Max (Malins) also involved in the squad and there’s a few other players who could be involved if it wasn’t for injury. It’s pleasing to see them represent the club and themselves at this level.
Barrell added; “Much like the Class of 08 that saw Owen Farrell, Will Fraser, Jamie George, George Kruis and Jackson Wray come through we have an academy group who love to challenge and drive each other. They have a long way to go to reach the heights that group continue to achieve but the early signs are very promising.
“I think we must pay credit to guys like Ian Vass (academy coach), Paddy Hogben (academy strength & conditioning coach) and Chris Rainbow (academy physiotherapist) for their hard-work behind the scenes in helping develop these guys and we’re very excited to see how they get on this weekend.”
England U20 squad to face France U20 – Saturday 4th February at Sandy Park, Exeter (12:00pm KO): - Live on Sky Sports 5 from 11:45