London Broncos' Kieran Dixon faces a wait to make the England grade, says international coach
Only Sam Tomkins has scored more Super League tries than Kieran Dixon this season but England head coach Steve McNamara insists the youngster still has some improving to do before he can challenge for international honours.
Still only 20, Dixon has run in 14 tries for the improving London Broncos this season but the winger was not picked by McNamara for the full England squad.
Instead the diminutive speedster remains in the England Knights set-up and, while McNamara admits his displays are certainly catching the eye, he feels there is more to come.
“Kieran was part of our England Knights programme last year,” said McNamara, speaking at the grant announcement of Gillette’s ‘Great Start’ programme for 2013.
“He has got an amazing amount of talent and has been scoring tries for fun. I don’t like to talk too much about what people can do or can’t do but in terms of his rugby league education he’s still quite new into Super League.
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“He’s pushing very, very hard to get into that top echelon and I’m sure with a little bit more time he will do so. I’m really pleased we’ve got a lot of players in a lot of positions pushing for places.”
Dixon’s path to the full international set-up is blocked by the likes of Ryan Hall and Josh Charnley, two proven try scorers both in Super League and the international game.
And, while Dixon’s rise has garnered a lot of attention, McNamara is hoping that the Broncos ace can be trailblazer for more rugby league talent to come from the south of the country.
“He’s very impressive and there must be a lot more Kieran Dixon’s out there. And we want to unearth more of those types of people,” he added.
“We all know football is the predominant sport in our country and almost every kid plays football growing up. There are quite a few who do the same with rugby but are exposed to rugby union down south instead of league.
“But we’ve had a fair bit of success with some London players. Tony Clubb and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, London born and bred, have played for England and Great Britain.
“Darrell Griffin, Oxford born, has played for Great Britain and Kieran Dixon is now part of our England Knights programme and has a bright future.”
Gillette’s Great Start programme celebrates the role of coaching and encourages people to get into coaching by offering grants. To apply for a coaching grant visit www.facebook.co.uk/GilletteUK.