From Wymondham to England - the rise of talented Tommy
- Credit: PA
Four years ago, Tommy Freeman was pulling on the red and black hoops of Wymondham for his side’s appearance in the Under-16 Norfolk Cup final.
This November he could be stepping out onto the turf of Twickenham in the white jersey of England for the Autumn International series.
Tommy, 20, is one of two breakthrough Norfolk players who have been picked by England coach Eddie Jones for the 34-man squad to face Tonga, Australia and South Africa.
“He’s a big, strong, strapping lad,” Jones said. “He can play full back or wing. I’ve been watching him for a couple of seasons. He’s got good pace, a good feel for the game.”
He may be young, but Freeman has established himself at Northampton Saints since being picked up by the club’s academy half way through the 2018/19 season.
Wymondham chairman Paul Wootton, who coached Freeman in youth, explained: “Tommy was always highly skilled and tenacious. He needed to be tenacious because when he left us, and in stark contrast to the man he has become, I would be surprised if he was more than 5ft 6in tall and 10 stone in weight!
“He was desperate to become a professional player and moved to Northampton to realise that dream. Picked up by Northampton Saints, we have all watched his meteoric rise into Saints’ senior squad, first XV and now the England set-up with huge pride and desperately hope he will become the first former Wymondham player to win an England cap!”
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Freeman - now more than 6ft 2ins and 16st, said: “When the call came in obviously I was definitely stunned, taken aback, but with the names in that squad I’m definitely looking forward to be playing alongside them, the likes of (Owen) Farrell and those boys have been in the set-up for quite a while now.
“I’m just going to go in and learn as much as I can off them and show them what I can do.”
Freeman will line up in the squad alongside former Swaffham, Holt and Norwich School player Freddie Steward, now full-back at Leicester Tigers.
England’s Autumn campaign gets underway at Twickenham on Saturday November 6 against Tonga. Australia follow the week after and world champions South Africa complete the series on November 20.