Exeter full-back Jack Nowell admits he wasn't expecting to be named in the Saxons squad announced recently by boss Stuart Lancaster.
Exeter full-back Jack Nowell admitted he was not expecting to be named in the England Saxons squad released recently by coach Stuart Lancaster.
The 20-year-old was included alongside club-mate Tom Johnson in the squad, which is due to meet later this month for a three-day camp.
Nowell admitted he was “shocked” by the latest announcement, but says he is ready to take on the challenge after impressing last season.
“It feels amazing, I really wasn't expecting it at all,” Nowell told Exeter's website, with the player one of five Chiefs who helped the U20s to lift the Junior World Championship title in France.
“I found out when I read about it on the internet. Since then I've spoken to a couple of the coaches, but I didn't get any prior warning at all.”
Nowell said the coaches, including attack specialist Mike Catt, had told him that his surprise selection was a reflection on his form for both club and country.
“They just said the reason you're there is how you've been playing – at the World Cup for the Under-20s and for the way I finished for Exeter,” Nowell added.
“I think the Under-20s has been massive for me. You're playing with guys your own age, and gets you in that England environment and being away with a group at a tournament. It's an amazing experience.”
Nowell is one of a clutch of promising England youngsters the Chiefs currently have within their ranks and he predicts it will not be long before others follow him into the senior set-up.
“I think it's only a matter of time before we get more Exeter boys in the England set-up, including some of the U20 guys like Henry Slade, Sam Hill and Luke Cowan-Dickie,” he said.
“It's great to have Tom with me and I'm sure he'll look after me when I'm there!”
Equally adept playing at full-back or on the wing, England head coach Lancaster has certainly been impressed by the rise of the talented back, who hails from Newlyn in Cornwall.
“Jack played well for his club and he played well for England,” said Lancaster.
“He's an exciting young player and the sooner we get him into the squad and start working with him, the better.”