Steve Borthwick has no choice but to pick flanker after latest award nomination
Anyone who has watched the Gallagher Premiership this season would be very surprised indeed if London Irish flanker Tom Pearson does not feature at some point this summer for England.
Head coach Steve Borthwick overlooked the 23-year-old during the Six Nations, partly due to the wealth of back row options in England at the moment, but the flanker has gone from strength to strength since then, culminating in his nomination for Breakthrough Player of the Season.
Pearson joins the shortlist alongside Gloucester’s Seb Atkinson, Northampton Saints’ Fin Smith and Sale Sharks’ Gus Warr.
Seeing how the loose forward just sits in second place for the most tackles in the league this season and sits in third place for turnovers won, he probably should be on the shortlist for Player of the Season, but he has received a nomination nevertheless.
With four warm-up games for England ahead of the World Cup in September, it now seems very likely that Pearson will get his shot to impress before the showcase begins. If he carries the form he has shown this season in the league onto the Test stage, there is a very good chance that he will be travelling to France for the World Cup as well.
While his defensive stats are very impressive, they only tell half the story as he is a ferocious ball carrier as well- something that England have very much lacked in recent campaigns.
As mentioned, there are plenty of options in the back row in the Premiership at the moment, and with Zach Mercer arriving from Montpellier before the World Cup, the list of candidates will be burgeoning to the point where some very good players will miss out on playing at the World Cup. But Pearson has been hard to ignore this season.
Take a look at some of his highlights: