England: Henry Slade says Manu Tuilagi is the best player in the world

Manu Tuilagi England v Argentina ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Manu Tuilagi England v Argentina ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Henry Slade has hailed England team-mate Manu Tuilagi as the best player in the world as the powerhouse centre aims to shine in his team’s Autumn Nations Series Test against New Zealand.

Tuilagi is set to return to England’s starting line-up for Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks at Twickenham after coming off the replacements bench in last weekend’s 52-13 thrashing of Japan.

All Blacks’ nemesis in 2013 and 2019

And Slade, who has formed a centre combination with Tuilagi in some Tests, believes New Zealand are wary of the Sale Sharks midfielder, who shone for England in victories over the All Blacks in 2013 and 2019.

“We have a really good relationship off the field and that translates on to it,” said Slade.

“Manu’s a great guy and what he brings to the team is pretty obvious in terms of how powerful he is. I don’t think there’s any other centre like him in world rugby.

“In my view, he’s the best player in the world because of what he can give you.

“For a guy who doesn’t do weights… he doesn’t do any and he’s one of the most powerful guys I’ve ever met, so it’s pretty scary what he could be like.

“It’s not just about what he brings in terms of getting over the gain line, but the amount of space he can create for others by doing that and by being the threat he is.

“If you go to the line, you have to respect that Manu could get the ball and bust you at any point. The headaches he must give defences is nuts. He’s awesome to play with.

Difficult to stop

“He has done great things against the All Blacks in the past, but he can do great things against any team. He is a hard guy to stop.

“Having him in the team always gives you that bit of confidence, that good feeling. It’s going to be a big weekend for him and he’s a big guy for us.”

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