Birthday boy Isiekwe left 'speechless' by call-up for England's tour of Argentina
PUBLISHED: 16:58 25 April 2017
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Former Verulamian and Old Albanian junior Nick Isiekwe was left "speechless" after receiving a shock call-up for England's tour of Argentina - on his 19th birthday.
The former Nicholas Breakspear pupil had started the week in style anyway by making his first Aviva Premiership start for Saracens against Northampton Saints.
But getting the call was the icing on top of a very special cake.
He said: “I feel very shocked, it’s been a good week for me. I’m a bit speechless to be honest but I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead in terms of physical and mental preparation.
“It’s a big achievement and hopefully I can learn as much as I can and pick up as much experience as I can and just really knuckle down.
“The rugby we’ve played up to this point has been at a different intensity but all the things we’ve learned will be put into fruition when the time comes.
“I’m joined by some good company who I can learn a lot from. They have a lot of wisdom and I can’t wait to learn from them and hopefully it will make me a better rugby player.”
Saracens’ forwards coach Alex Sanderson has spent a lot of time working with Isiekwe and spoke highly of the youngster’s talent.
He said: “He’s worked hard on his basic skills and his knowledge about how he can fit into our structure and our environment here and in recent months, he’s really come on and matured.
“He is still very young but what he has got in an abundance is athletic ability and talent certainly and hopefully what will be evident will be his enthusiasm to make a statement and carve out a position for himself in the team going forward.”
Isiekwe has been part of the ‘A’ setup since 2015 and has represented England throughout the youth levels. He was also a key figure in England’s U20 Six Nations grand slam triumph earlier this year.
He will be one of 15 uncapped players heading to South America for a two-test tour in June. And alongside him will be Saracens team-mate, and another who has played for OAs, Nathan Earle.
Earle said: “It’s a bit crazy, I’m a bit taken aback at the call obviously but I’m very happy.
“Hopefully I get a chance in the tests but I just want to train hard and train well and then fingers crossed I get picked”