JAMES WILSON says the competition for a starting spot at Saints is bringing out the best in him.
The utility back impressed in all four pre-season friendlies, showing his intelligence at centre and full-back.
He was restricted to a role as replacement in three of those games, but came on and made an impact in each.
His most recent appearance from the bench, at Edinburgh on Friday night, saw Wilson tee up Samoan wing Ken Pisi with a superb final pass.
He looks set to be a good go-to guy for Saints boss Jim Mallinder, who is likely to name the Kiwi on the bench for the Premiership opener at Gloucester on Saturday.
But should he once again be named among the replacements, with Dom Waldouck and George Pisi likely to start at centre, and Ben Foden at full-back, Wilson says it will spur him on.
“I have played full-back, centre, second five over the last few weeks and I’m just happy to be getting some game time,” said the former Bourgoin player.
“There’s good competition in the team and that’s a positive because it makes you play better.”
Despite having only been at Saints for a few weeks, Wilson feels he has already got to know the style of play of his new team-mates.
And he admits he has settled in alongside them faster than could have been expected.
“For me it’s been awesome to gel with the team over the last few weeks,” he said.
“It’s great. I’ve played in a few positions over the last couple of weeks and I’m just learning as I go. It’s feeling good out there.
“I feel confident with the calls coming out, confident with what I’m doing with the players inside and outside me so I’m comfortable and it’s great.
“We practise a lot and those things (mutual understandings) happen over time. They’re actually happening quite fast I’ve felt, which is obviously a good thing. You know guys are going to be there.”