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'Bona fide freak of an athlete': Freeman inks new Northampton deal

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

England newcomer Tommy Freeman has capped his brilliant breakthrough year at Test level by inking a new unspecified length, long-term contract that will see the full-back remain at Northampton Saints beyond the end of the 2022/23 season.

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A club statement read: “Tommy Freeman, the 21-year-old Northampton academy graduate, burst onto the senior stage back in 2020 and a meteoric rise through the club’s ranks culminated this summer in two England caps during their successful tour of Australia.

“The versatile back has already notched up 17 tries in just 35 Northampton appearances, with 14 of those coming in 18 games during the 2021/22 campaign. That blistering form saw Freeman scoop Saints’ young player of the season award, having been named the club’s breakthrough player of the season the year beforehand.

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“Freeman first made his mark in the Northampton colours with a try in Saints’ pre-season friendly against Leinster during the summer of 2019, before making his senior debut in a Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Sale Sharks that autumn. A Gallagher Premiership debut (aged just 19) followed later in the 2019/20 campaign against Bath and Freeman has not looked back from there.”

New Northampton director of rugby Phil Dowson predicted that Freeman can now go from strength to strength at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens. “Tommy is a bona fide freak of an athlete. He is tall, big and fast, but he is also ludicrously skilful as well and those things combined add up to a special player.

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“He is still young and has a lot to learn in terms of his positioning and defending, but regardless of that he is still good enough to be playing international rugby for England at the moment and that speaks volumes. Tommy makes good decisions. He can see space and has the ability to beat a player or put the ball on his foot at the right time, or throws offloads and has the confidence to do it for his club or country.

“He is a very chilled-out character which definitely helps with things like nerves. Tommy seems to me like one of those players who will rise to the level he is playing at no matter what you throw at him, so he is certainly a huge talent and someone we are delighted to have kept on board.”

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Freeman added: “I am thrilled to recommit my future to Northampton and am incredibly grateful to the club’s coaches for everything they have done to help me to develop as a player over the last few seasons. Chris Boyd gave me the platform to break into the first team and I’m excited about what is to come with Phil at the helm.

“This is an environment I really wanted to remain a part of and everyone in the squad is working hard for next season. Competition in the back three at Saints is always really strong, so I have always just tried to focus on grabbing my opportunities with both hands and I love the freedom we are given as a squad to express ourselves on the field.

“This was obviously an incredible summer for me. It was really exciting to earn my first two caps for England but now I’m only looking forward at the season ahead and making sure I keep producing my best form for the club.”

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