Making Myler Saints’ undisputed number one fly-half was key to his success

THE MAIN MAN - Saints fly-half Stephen Myler (Picture: Linda Dawson)
THE MAIN MAN - Saints fly-half Stephen Myler (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Paul Grayson feels Stephen Myler’s stellar season owed much to the emphasis placed on the player.

Myler, so often battling with enigmatic fly-halves at Franklin’s Gardens, was told he was Northampton’s No.1 stand-off at the beginning of the previous campaign.

And the faith of the coaching staff was repaid handsomely as Myler proceeded to flourish, guiding his team to an Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership double.

The 29-year-old was man of the match in both finals and his fine form saw him link up with the England squad in New Zealand at the conclusion of the league season.

Grayson believes that was richly deserved and says his former protege benefited from the lack of players such as Ryan Lamb and Shane Geraghty breathing down his neck.

“Everybody wants their opportunity and not many people in life thrive without security, that’s a human trait,” said the former Saints fly-half and coach.

“To be looking over your shoulder all of the time can be destabilising and it ratchets up the pressure on every goalkick taken and every decision you make because if you think one or two things haven’t gone your way, you know one more mistake could mean you’re off.

“Conversely if you’ve got a game to get yourself into it, if you make mistakes it doesn’t play on your mind, you crack on and that might be the last mistake you make.

“I think he’s benefited from being in that position.”

Myler was the Premiership’s most accurate kicker last season, but he also added more flair to his game under the tutelage of former Clermont Auvergne coach Alex King.

And the No.10 also benefited from an increase in talent around him, with the likes of George North and Kahn Fotuali’i having arrived in Northampton last summer.

“With three world class players (North, Fotuali’i and Alex Corbisiero) brought in and the growth of the younger players to be able to cope with the pressure it helped,” said Grayson.

“The whole squad has moved on and Stephen starting the game from scratch it probably takes six or seven years to get your head around a complicated position like fly-half.

“He had a good season last season and it’s pleasing to see him get the respect he deserved.

“He’s had a full season in charge of this team and look what happened.

“Stephen knows there are areas of his game to keep developing but he’s certainly put his hand up in a very good Saints team this year. If he can continue that growth he’ll be in a very good position.”