Lee Blackett believes Paolo Odogwu will soon see game-time with England will come despite not seeing any action in the 2021 Six Nations with England.
The Wasps winger did not feature in any of Eddie Jones’ matchday-23 squads during the tournament, but also wasn’t released back back to Wasps during the fallow weeks.
It meant that Odogwu’s appearance off the bench in last weekend’s 20-19 defeat to Sale was his first time on the rugby pitch since mid-January.
While the opportunity remains for Odogwu to switch his allegiances to Italy as an uncapped player, Blackett believes he wouldn’t have remained with England throughout the Six Nations if Jones had not seen something he liked in the 24-year-old.
“Paolo was given reasons why he didn’t play, and that’ll stay between those guys, but I don’t think he was a million miles away by all accounts,” said Blackett.
“I don’t think Eddie would have kept him in if he didn’t like him. He’s done some pleasing things.
“Hopefully in the near future, on the summer tour, he can get himself there and capped.
“I’ve not spoken to Eddie about it. I’ve spoken to his coaches, Simon Amor before, but not spoken to them since he’s come back.”
Odogwu’s absence was felt as Wasps lost six of their eight matches in the Premiership.
Dampened by the loss of Malakai Fekitoa for the rest of the season, Odogwu looks set to fill-in at outside centre in the Wasps backline where he shined earlier in the season for the Kiwi.
But after 11 weeks in purgotory, Blackett remained adamant he would not rush Odogwu back despite the pressure the team is under.
“For him to deservedly go away and then spend 11 weeks without playing, it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get him back to the form we got him to.
“Hopefully he can do it on the weekend. I’m sure he can. From a club’s selfish point of view it’s frustrating he wasn’t able to get some game-time for England.
“I think he should be in the England team soon, and obviously you can see what he can do before he went for camp in the last few weeks, it’s only a matter of time.
“He’s really good, strong, he’s a big boy, he’s got great skills. And he’s still young, he’s really young and he’s got the speed and that x-factor on him, you can’t coach that.”