England prop David Wilson not afraid to heap praise on his rival – Sale Shark’s Henry Thomas

By Paddy von Behr

He might have just been called up as his cover but England prop David Wilson has no issues with giving rival Henry Thomas’ international credentials a glowing reference.

With Wilson working off a calf injury, Sale Sharks prop Thomas joined Rob Webber, himself cover for Dylan Hartley, in being added to England’s squad for the opening autumn test with Australia on Sunday.

The 21-year-old got his first taste of international rugby in Argentina over the summer, coming on as a replacement in both matches in Salta and Buenos Aires respectively.

And, despite the pair battling with each other behind British & Irish Lion Dan Cole at tighthead, Wilson isn’t afraid to talk up the talents of Thomas.

HATS OFF TO THE CHEFS: David Wilson, Mike Brown and Tom Youngs at Hollins Hall, a Marriott Hotel & Country Club

“He is a good young player, he is good around the park, he gets some good stats and I think he will probably go on to be a very good player,” said Wilson.

“I don’t think it will take long for him to step up to the England squad properly. I am sure he will take his chances when he gets them.

“And that is what it is all about at international level – when you get your chances, you take them and you perform well.”

Wilson got a chance himself in Argentina over the summer with Cole with the Lions in Australia, starting his first matches for almost three years and just fifth and sixth of his England career.

Cole returns for the autumn internationals and Thomas is up-and-coming but, regardless, Wilson insists he ultimately wants to see the best player of the lot wearing the No.3 jersey.

“My job recently has been on the bench a bit and obviously I had some game time in Argentina. It is tough but I just want the best player for England to play,” he added.

“We’re obviously going to push Dan all the way. Hopefully we can push him so he performs better and ultimately it is better for the team.

“We just get on with it and try and play our best. That’s all you can do – play your best week in, week out for your club and hope you get selected for England.”

David Wilson, Mike Brown and Tom Youngs at Hollins Hall, a Marriott Hotel & Country Club.  Marriott, official partner of England Rugby, has teamed up with River Cottage to change the face of hotel food by focusing on seasonal, local, organic and sustainable produce.

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