Jim Mallinder believes in-form Ben Foden is capable of giving England boss Stuart Lancaster a selection headache this autumn.
Foden continued his slick start to the season with a commanding display in Saints’ 43-10 thrashing of Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.
The full-back made some scything runs as well as displaying his kicking game, pinning the Sharks back with some accurate touch-finders.
Foden has made no secret of his desire to wrestle the England 15 shirt away from Harlequins star Mike Brown and Mallinder feels his player is finding form at the right time.
“He’s playing well,” said the Saints director of rugby. “Fodes has really come back to some form. He’s playing with a smile on his face, as he always does.
“He’s really hitting some form and we’ve been really pleased with his play over the past few weeks. Stuart’s got some interesting decisions to make in that position.”
Lancaster names his EPS squad on October 22, with the autumn international campaign starting against New Zealand at Twickenham on November 8.
Foden recently admitted he is back to his old self after a couple of injury-hit campaigns and Mallinder has been pleased with the 29-year-old’s all-round game.
“You saw a mature performance from Fodes on Saturday,” he said. “He ran the ball back hard when he needed to.
“What he did do well was his kicking game. There were a couple of really nice kicks to good positions.
“I know the forwards are very, very grateful when he stands up there and puts the ball into the corner.”