Austin Healey has backed uncapped Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith to one day become the best player in the world.
Smith has played exceptionally well for Harlequins ever since he made his debut for the south-west London club back in 2017 at the age of 18, but is yet to be capped by England.
Former England and British and Irish Lions player Healey wrote about Smith in his column for The Telegraph and expressed his admiration for the youngster’s improvement since he first broke into the professional game.
“He’s not an instinctive player, everything he does is thought about, he just processes it quicker than everyone else.”
Marcus Smith for England when? pic.twitter.com/oyhrcoFrxu
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 9, 2021
“Marcus Smith in the past has said that he wants to be the best player in the world. And I tell you what, I’m starting to believe him,” Healey commented.
“I looked at him two years ago and his goalkicking was average, he put his hand through his hair every two minutes, he wasn’t focused enough. That’s now changed.
“If you can stand on the tackle line and play right in the faces of the opposition, and you’re able to retain that ability to see the game two-dimensionally, that’s a remarkable skill. And it is an international quality skill. Smith has that.”
Comparisons with Danny Cipriani.
While Smith still has plenty of time to break into England’s team at the age of 22, Eddie Jones’ reluctance to give the Harlequins playmaker an opportunity for his country has frustrated many supporters and pundits alike.
The former England under-20 international may not be the most assured and sensible fly-half in the game, but he can create scoring opportunities out of what had seemed like nothing.
While some of Smith’s best pieces of skill may seem somewhat fortunate, Healey insisted that there is more to the Harlequins youngster than meets the eye, likening him to fellow maverick Danny Cipriani.
“You know when somebody kicks a ball and you think ‘that’s gone too far’, but then it bounces up perfectly for someone to score,” Healey wrote.
“It is as if it’s written in the stars for you. You make a half-mistake and it turns into a try. I’m starting to see that with Smith.
“People will watch those moments and think it’s luck, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as – ‘it’s your time’. Things are happening for Smith. We saw it with Danny Cipriani when he had a chance.
“If a mistake turns into an opportunity, then someone is smiling on you. And I think people are smiling on Smith right now.”