Slade can get England recall says Exeter boss

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says Henry Slade is showing form that could earn him an international recall.

But he is nominated for Premiership Player of the Month after impressing in Exeter’s opening three league matches.

“People will probably be surprised because when you get left out of that international arena when you’ve been part of it, you kind of have only two choices,” Baxter told BBC Sport.

“You can kind of plod along back into that post-international career and you kind of get on with things or you go, ‘right, I am going to reinvent myself a bit and I am going to think about what it was that got me in the England set-up initially and what it was that had people talking about me and why I became such a good player’, and to me it looks exactly what Sladey’s doing.

“I watched training yesterday, and I would have said he was probably our sharpest, most intense trainer. He was the guy who added a little bit of bite to training really.

“I can’t give him any more credit than that; that’s the kind of guy that will get back into an international setup and if he doesn’t, it’s certainly the kind of guy that will help drive what we do here at the club.”

Having seen long-serving teammates such as Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Dave Ewers join a host of other players to leave Exeter last summer, Slade has been one of the few constants to remain from the side that began challenging for honours eight years ago.

As one of the most experienced senior players still at Sandy Park, he has spearheaded a start to the season which has seen Exeter make the semi-finals of the Premiership Rugby Cup and gain high-scoring home wins over Premiership finalists Saracens and Sale in their first three league games.

And Baxter says the player who was a first-choice for England a few years ago is the one he is seeing once again:

“To me, he’s looking a little bit like the 23, 24-year-old Henry Slade and that’s how he’s playing.

“He’s certainly got his mojo there, because he’s buying into what the group is about.

“The group is about being young, enthusiastic, energetic, playing with smiles on their faces, fighting for each other, working really hard in training and on a match day, and he’s really bought into that.”