Luther Burrell says there is ‘brilliant potential’ in the Saints academy – and he’s looking forward to playing alongside some of the talented teens this weekend.
Burrell is likely to take centre stage at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, when Premiership champions Harlequins come calling in the LV= Cup (ko 1pm).
The 24-year-old will be one of a number of fringe players Saints boss Jim Mallinder will look to as he rests first-team players who have had a heavy workload so far this season.
And there should also be some youngsters in the Northampton squad, with the likes of Tom Stephenson and Tom Collins in line for some senior side game time.
Burrell has taken to the field with those players before as he has played for the Wanderers this season, and he knows what they can offer.
“There’s some brilliant potential,” said the former Sale Sharks player. “The likes of (Tom) Stephenson, the centre, and Tom Collins, the wing, coming in and Anders (Mogensen) at full-back.
“These boys have got such flair about them and it’s a joy to watch.
“There’s such urgency and it’s going to be exciting to see how they go.”
Despite the absence of several first-choice players, Saints will remain determined to do well in the LV= Cup, a competition the club has enjoyed success in during recent seasons.
Northampton won it in 2010 and reached the final last time round, only to lose to Leicester Tigers, and Burrell knows the significance of this weekend’s clash with Quins.
He said: “We’re not underestimating this tournament. Ultimately it’s a massive opportunity for players like myself and some of the younger players to get a foot in the door and that’s what this Northampton squad’s about.
“It’s another first-team game and every time we step out onto the pitch we want to win, we want to physically beat up our opposite men and that’s what it’s about.
“We’re not underestimating any opposition and competition we play in.”