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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 15:27 GMT
Catt backing Geraghty to impress
London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty.
Geraghty is in the England senior squad for the first time
Mike Catt has urged London Irish team-mate Shane Geraghty to seize his chance to shine in the England set-up.

Inside centre Catt, 35, and fly-half Geraghty, 20, were named in new coach Brian Ashton's first England squad.

World Cup winner Catt told BBC Radio Five Live: "Shane and Toby Flood are the Premiership's in-form 10s and have a great opportunity to cement a spot.

"It's time for one of these young guys with a lot of ability to go out and express themselves on the pitch."

Catt admitted coming into the England dressing room for the first time can be an intimidating experience.

"I was called up into a well-established England side which featured the likes of Jeremy Guscott, Brian Moore, Rob Andrew, Rory Underwood, Dean Richards.

"So to be part of something as special as that was quite daunting. You just kept your mouth shut and got on with it.

"But it's a fantastic experience and you've just got to savour the atmosphere and the stage.

London Irish centre Mike Catt.
Brian (Ashton) always comes up with new moves and new things and really tests you all the time

Mike Catt

"You just have to get off to a good start, do the basics really well and as you gradually get more comfortable, then you can try your more flashy stuff."

Geraghty said what he has learnt playing alongside Catt will stand him in good stead with England.

"It's always good to see how Catty reacts in the pressure games, to see his game management, and he has helped me out with the kicking.

"The advice has been to go in there, don't be in your shell, be the same player I am at London Irish and try not to be overawed by the situation."

Catt said: "I had fantastic players outside me when I started at Bath, especially Phil De Glanville who taught me a hell of a lot and literally directed me through games.

"I didn't have that experience, but he helped me tremendously. I'm trying to do the same thing with the likes of Shane, which is why we have gelled very well.

"We both understand the game, but it's about an extra set of eyes and the trust you build up."

Both players have worked with Ashton before - Catt during his lengthy spell at Bath, and Geraghty with the England Academy.

Geraghty said: "Brian concentrates on core skills and giving you a game plan which you can adjust during a match."

Catt agreed, saying: "The big thing with Brian is he expects you to get the basics right. If you can catch, pass and distribute you can play for him.

"He will give you certain formations you can work on, he will keep you thinking, you don't get stale."

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