'He's awesome!' - Mallinder tips young Saints full-back for the top
Harry Mallinder has high praise for potentially the next impressive first-team full-back to emerge from the Saints Academy.
Mallinder and George Furbank both came through the ranks at Franklin's Gardens, and the next cab off the rank could be talented teen Tommy Freeman.
The 19-year-old was first noticed by the Saints coaches while studying at Moulton College and joined the Junior Academy midway through the 2018/19 season.
Freeman featured for Saints’ Under-18s team for the rest of that term and signed his first full-time contract to join the Senior Academy ahead of the 2019/20 season.
He has since gone on to show his class during pre-season and Wanderers matches.
And Mallinder has been hugely impressed with the Oxford-born back, who was named in the England Under-20s squad earlier this season.
"Tommy Freeman is awesome," Mallinder said.
"I think he's going to be a really good player and he looks good.
"I remember going through his pre-season games with him and he's a good player.
"He's a really nice lad and really versatile.
"We've got some good full-backs."
Saints are certainly well stocked when it comes to the battle for the 15 shirt.
Mallinder has shone since returning from a long-term injury, while so good was the form of Furbank that he made his England debut this season.
And Mallinder said: "I get on well with Furbs.
"He's a school year younger than me but we're the same age.
"I've played with him since the Academy days and he's always been a really good player.
"I'm really pleased for him and he's done really well during the past couple of seasons.
"And obviously we've got Ace (Tuala), who is an incredible player.
"He's very versatile and a very skillful player.
"We're very lucky to have so many good players in the back three.
"Personally I'm just enjoying player and not worrying too much about the other lads because they've been doing really well.
"I just want to keep improving and keep bettering myself and see where it takes me."