Eddie Jones is looking forward to unleashing Paolo Odogwu’s ‘X-factor’ in this year’s Guinness Six Nations as he plots a successful defence of England’s Championship crown.
The 23-year-old is one of three uncapped players in England’s 28-man squad, alongside Harry Randall and Beno Obano, having been rewarded for a terrific start to the season with Wasps.
Odogwu has scored six tries in eight matches and tops the English Premiership charts for metres gained (367) and clean breaks (12) – statistics which have excited England’s head coach.
“I was lucky enough to be coached by a guy called Bob Dwyer and one of the things he always taught me about selection was ‘look for those players that can be world class at something’,” he said.
“And Paolo can be world class in terms of line-breaking. That’s the thing that’s caught my attention all the time. He’s got power, got a bit of an X-factor in power.”
Jones was in the stands at Bath earlier in January to watch Odogwu cross twice in a high-scoring Wasps win and impress against Jonathan Joseph, who he has replaced in the England squad.
Odogwu has been on the Australian’s radar for some time, however, with his promise clear from his early days at Sale Sharks.
“I remember talking to Steve Diamond at Sale, watching him at a game, and he said, ‘This kid’s got a lot of power, a lot of potential’,” Jones said.
“Then he changed to Wasps, didn’t have that much game time last year, but certainly every time he plays, he’s got something about him.”
Odogwu, who has this week extended his contract with Wasps, represented England in the Under-20 Six Nations in 2016 and could be in line for a senior debut against Scotland at Twickenham on February 6.
The Calcutta Cup clash represents the start of a campaign Jones hopes will end with his fourth Championship crown as he targets further progress with the Red Rose.
“Obviously our goal for the tournament is to win it,” he said.
“We want to continually develop our game, we want to keep adapting to the opposition and the conditions. And we want to be an impossible team to play against.
“We want to be a team that plays at a level that the other teams can’t compete against.”