Luther Burrell became a Saint for Premiership recognition

Luther BurrellLuther Burrell reckons his move to Northampton will allow him to finally establish himself as a proven Premiership player.
The imposing 6ft 3in centre has joined the Saints after just one season at Sale Sharks, having progressed through the ranks at Leeds Carnegie.
When his contract at Sale expired, Huddersfield-born Burrell had no hesitation in joining fellow Yorkshireman Jim Mallinder at Franklin’s Gardens.
Burrell, 24, endured an injury-disrupted campaign with Steve Diamond’s Sale and was delighted to pen a two-year deal with Saints.
He said: “It was hard to break in at Sale, but I did get my shot here and there with a few starts. It came to the end of the season and I had a good sit down with Steve and he just sort of said it how it was.
“He’s a tough character and a very proud man who likes hard-working players, but I got on with him really well and he wanted me to stay.
“However, I explained that Northampton were in for me and that for me going forward and where I want to be – with aspirations to be a solid Premiership player – I can do that at Northampton.
“I can progress there and show what I can do because there’s a place for me with James Downey and Jon Clarke leaving. It was a massive opportunity to lay a platform to establish myself in the Premiership.”
Burrell, nurtured by England boss Stuart Lancaster in the Leeds academy, reckons he will prosper on and off the pitch in the East Midlands.
“Northampton is a massive rugby town and I went down a couple of times to have a look round the place,” he said.
“I met Jim, who’s a great guy, and from going down there I knew I wanted to be a part of it. He’s a northern boy like me and I think we’ll have a lot in common. I know what he’ll demand of me and I think I can deliver that and lay down a serious marker.
“Saints are getting 14-15,000 crowds week-in and week-out, which will be brilliant for me and my confidence.
“I know Sale have obviously qualified for the Heineken Cup this season but that was another thing that attracted me to Northampton.
“They were in the Premiership semi-finals last season and are a club who are always there or thereabouts at the top end of the league. I wanted to be part of something like that.”
Having worked under Lancaster at Leeds, Burrell admits his ultimate goal is to pull on an England jersey.
But first he wants to establish himself as Mallinder’s first-choice inside centre.
Burrell added: “I see myself as a 12 and where I want to progress. It will be magnificent to have boys like George Pisi outside me.
“There’s a lot of potential at this club and I think they’ve got about six or seven boys in the England squad, which is brilliant and is only going to make a better player.
“I worked with Stuart at Leeds for a number of years and I was delighted when he got the England job because he’s a brilliant coach and he knows what he wants from his players.
“He knows me really well and it would be a dream come true to pull on that England jersey, but for the moment it’s just one step at a time.
“I need to get my head down at Northampton and establish myself there.”
ROSS HEPPENSTALL

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