Paul Grayson believes Stephen Myler will have a real shot at making England’s World Cup squad if he maintains his fine form next season.
Myler was one of the stars of Saints’ season, earning the man-of-the-match award in final victories in the Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership.
He was the most accurate kicker in England’s top division and also showed his creative capabilities, flourishing under the guidance of Alex King.
However, Myler was not given any game time in England’s recent three-Test tour of New Zealand, with Freddie Burns, Danny Cipriani and Owen Farrell all preferred in the matches against the All Blacks.
The Saints star was restricted to a substitute appearance in the midweek game against Crusaders, but Grayson, Myler’s former mentor at Saints, believes the 29-year-old is still in a good position.
“Stephen’s now in a position where there are three, four, five people putting their hand up,” said Grayson.
“It was interesting how the third Test went. England were exposed a little down that 10, 12 channel and that is an area of strength for Stephen.
“Defensively he’s been improving steadily and Freddie Burns is failing in his game.
“It’s a long time until the World Cup and if you were setting your goals you would want to be in sight of that squad.
“Look at what’s between now and then and Stuart Lancaster knows him, he’s taken him to the Churchill Cup.
“Having had conversations with Stuart, he likes what Stephen can offer: his character is the right sort of person for that group.
“It would be great for him to start where he left off next season, carry some real momentum in and put his hand up for some sort of inclusion towards the autumn.”
Myler has plenty of competition for a World Cup place, with George Ford, who missed the recent tour due to a shoulder operation, also in the mix.
But Grayson feels the Saints man would be a good option for Lancaster as he looks to shape his squad for the biggest test on home soil next year.
“George Ford tailed off towards the end of the season and there are still question marks over him in his goalkicking and robustness to be able to cope with the top level,” said Grayson.
“Farrell is doing well, but there’s the occasional injury issue, and then you are looking at Stephen, Freddie Burns and Cirpirani.
“I think if Saints had got beaten in the semi-final, he would have been in with a shout of getting into the Test team.”