Wilson hoping flexibility can help in fight for Saints starts

UP FOR THE FIGHT - James Wilson knows he faces stiff competition at Saints this season (picture by Linda Dawson)
UP FOR THE FIGHT - James Wilson knows he faces stiff competition at Saints this season (picture by Linda Dawson)
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James Wilson admits he faces a huge challenge to make it into the Saints first team this season.

But he is hoping his versatility can ensure he gets plenty of minutes under his belt as the club go for glory at home and abroad.

Wilson proved himself in three positions during Saints’ run to the Premiership play-off final last season.

He excelled at full-back early in the campaign before switching to the wing and eventually outside centre at the back end of the assault on the title.

He shone at 13 during the final defeat to Leicester, proving himself on the big stage, but with Saints strengthening their backs division noticeably this summer, he knows he faces a real fight to remain first-choice.

“My role here is as a utility player, that’s what I was brought to the club as and I’m happy with that,” said the Kiwi, who will be competing with the likes of George North, Ben Foden and George Pisi this season.

“I do like being on the field and having an input in the way the game is going. If they can find a space for me for the whole season, that would be amazing.

“Obviously it’s a great line-up this year and it will be a challenge just to make the run-on team so for me to be able to play in a few different positions is a big positive.

“It was last year and it will be again this year.”

The Saints attack will be knitted together by highly-rated coach Alex King, who has arrived from Heineken Cup runners-up Clermont Auvergne.

And Wilson is already enjoying working with the ex-Wasps and England fly-half, who has been stamping his mark on Northampton during pre-season training.

“Alex has been in since day one and it’s been good to meet him and he’s had a bit of an input as well,” said Wilson.

“We’ve had the ball in hand already and we’ve done a few skills sessions, which apparently we didn’t do for the first month of last season.

“Hopefully that will help us throughout the season.”