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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 18:57 GMT
Wilkinson praises Strettle impact
David Strettle
I am sure he will have a long and successful career

Wilkinson on Strettle
Jonny Wilkinson believes David Strettle will be a fixture in the England squad for many years after the winger's encouraging debut against Ireland.

The Harlequins youngster was a rare highlight in a humiliating England defeat, scoring their lone try after replacing the injured Jason Robinson.

And Wilkinson was full of praise for the 23-year-old, saying: "It's great he has kicked off his England career.

"I am sure he will have a long and successful one after a great debut."

Strettle's try early in the second half gave England brief hope of an unlikely comeback, and he also impressed in defence after being targeted with a succession of high balls by the hosts.

But fly-half Wilkinson was not surprised by Strettle's display, adding: "He has been lighting up the Guinness Premiership with the way he has been playing. He is a massive threat.

"He came under a lot of pressure with just two days to prepare for one of the biggest occasions that he will face and he did very well."

I enjoyed it but we'll just wait and see what happens from now on

David Strettle

However, Strettle could find himself out of the England side to face France on 11 March with Robinson expected to be fit again after a neck injury.

Mark Cueto will also be in the back-three mix after returning from injury, while there are concerns over Olly Morgan (shoulder) and Iain Balshaw (groin).

"I'm just taking things as they happen at the moment," Strettle added. "I've come a long way in a short space of time.

"It was a dream come true to play for England and I enjoyed it but we'll just wait and see what happens from now on."

Open-side flanker Magnus Lund suffered concussion in Dublin and if he is ruled out of the France game then Tom Rees would be the natural replacement.

Ashton is also likely to be considering changes in all three rows of the scrum, with props Andrew Sheridan and Matt Stevens both back in action after long injury absences.

Bath lock Steve Borthwick is also set to press his claims for a recall, while centre Andy Farrell will come under plenty of scrutiny in Saracens' clash with Sale following his performance against Ireland.

Mike Catt, Toby Flood, Olly Barkley and Mathew Tait are all options should Ashton want to change his centre pairing.

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24 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
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23 Feb 07 |  English


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