London Irish star Henry Arundell has revealed how Ellis Genge and Marcus Smith helped his nerves when first joining the England squad.
Arundell has enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Exiles, including an outrageous solo try in the Challenge Cup, and earned a Red Rose call up at the tender age of 19.
Understandably, the young wing was nervous ahead of linking up with the national squad but revealed how welcoming the players were, particularly Genge and Smith, who helped Arundell settle in.
“I was very nervous at first. Most guys who do go in feel like that,” the teenager said.
“But a lot of players were very welcoming, more welcoming than I thought they would be, to be honest.
“You are going into the big dog zone and you think everyone will be horrible, but they are a great group of guys and are really looking after me.
“We went to the pub on the Sunday and I sat with Ellis and Marcus and they were both really good to me, having a chat and calming the nerves.
“Being called up by England is the kind of thing you dream about. It sounds like a cliche, but it’s true.
“To get it now is obviously very exciting. It doesn’t mean I’m going to play. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get capped any time soon.
“It is about learning as much as possible so I can go back to the club or possibly either go on tour to Australia with England or play for the under-20s.”
Arundell is looking to keep playing on instinct and is conscious to remind himself of the importance of having fun between the four lines.
“As soon as you start overthinking, that’s when you kind of lose that natural energy and that fun to play rugby,” he said.
“I’ve done a lot of stuff with psychologists about that and I think a lot of players do feel that as well. As soon as you start trying to do too much, you actually do worse.
“It is just reminding myself that I am only 19 and I have to keep enjoying myself and having fun.”