In a bold move by Newcastle’s head coach, Alex Codling, 18-year-old Ben Redshaw, a rising star and England U18 captain, has been entrusted with the daunting task of fielding George Ford’s signature spiral bombs when he appears at full-back for Newcastle against Sale in the Gallagher Premiership on Friday night.
Redshaw, who recently trained with England’s Rugby World Cup squad during their France 2023 preparations, finds himself stepping into the spotlight as he faces the wickedly spinning kicks unleashed by the skilled England and Sale out-half. Despite his youth and relative inexperience at the senior level, Redshaw’s exceptional attitude and dedication to the club have earned him the starting position.
Codling expressed confidence in Redshaw’s abilities, acknowledging that mistakes might be part of the learning process, especially when dealing with George Ford’s challenging kicks. The Newcastle head coach sees Redshaw as the future of the club, emphasizing the importance of bringing through local talent to maintain competitiveness in the Premiership.
“Ben Redshaw starts on Friday, and he is the future of the club. Ben is 18, has just come out of school and has an unbelievable attitude and loves this club,” Codling affirmed. “He will make mistakes, no doubt, but that is the only way you learn in environments like when you have George Ford sending up spiral bombs.”
Redshaw, a product of the same rugby school that produced notable players like Cameron Redpath and Bevan Rodd, has quickly emerged as a rising star. His impressive performance in the Premiership Cup against Sale marked him as a player to watch. Born in Leeds, Redshaw can play at centre or full-back and captained England U18s to a convincing victory over Ireland earlier this year.
Codling emphasized the importance of developing local talent to ensure the club’s competitiveness, especially given the challenges of retaining players in the face of constant interest from other clubs. Despite the departure of players like Mateo Carreras, Codling believes in striking the right balance between nurturing young talent and dealing with the immediate challenges the team faces.
“This is a massive job and the toughest in the Premiership by an absolute mile, and we have made some changes straight away. We have a habit at the moment of compounding errors in games,” Codling explained. “We have to start making the right decisions or you will be punished by teams like Sale. Our challenge on Friday is just as big.” As Redshaw steps into the limelight, Newcastle looks to him as a key player in their quest for a turnaround in the Premiership.