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Saracens boss Mark McCall backs David Strettle for England call-up after 32-12 victory over Sale Sharks
Saracens boss Mark McCall hailed David Strettle as "magnificent" in the Men in Black's 32-12 win over Sale Sharks and has backed the winger for an England call-up.
Strettle received an incisive pass from Charlie Hodgson to run 30 metres under the posts before minutes later returning the favour, poking through a subtle kick for Hodgson to grab Sarries' second try of the match.
McCall believes Strettle's form - and the fact that he plays on the left wing - could see him soon earn an England call-up.
"David Strettle was made man of the match today, I thought he was magnificent," he said.
"He has really relished this opportunity to play on the left wing. England don't have that many natural left wingers - there are some good wingers in the country but nobody's really putting their hand up as an out and out star.
"I think in the last five weeks he is playing the best rugby that certainly I've seen in the last two or three seasons from him.
"We've obviously also got Chris Ashton at the club, he didn't play - we rested Chris - so Stretts had the opportunity to play on the right but he wanted to play on the left so I think Stretts is pretty clever."
Saracens scored two tries for the first time in a league match since the opening day of the season but still for the most-part relied on Owen Farrell's boot - and the 21-year-old delivered, dispatching six out of six as well as two conversions.
But McCall argues his side's attacking intent was stifled by Sale's indiscipline.
"Of course we should be scoring more - we've done that in certain games in Europe - but today for me we were very dominant in the first half as well after a sluggish first ten minutes.
"We were very, very dominant for the next 30 minutes of the match and we couldn't go more than three phases without Sale giving a penalty away.
"It's not our fault that that was the case and Owen quite rightly kicked all those penalties and we built a very good 15-6 lead and against opponents who are fighting for their lives that's what has to happen sometimes.
"It was a wearing-down process and it was a bit of a grind at times I accept that but at the same time we did enough and put enough hard yards in to earn those two tries at the end - maybe it could have been more but it was a job well done today.
The Ulsterman also reserved praise for Farrell who started ahead of Hodgson at fly-half.
"I thought Owen played really well," he said.
"Obviously his goal-kicking was good but defensively he was magnificent. They came down that first channel with some pretty heavy weapons in their midfield and I thought his defence in that first channel was good and his control of the game was good - he's playing well."
Hodgson came on after the hour mark and made an instant impact against his former club, setting up one try and scoring another.
"Charlie's great to have to come on," McCall said.
"Once everyone else has done the job Charlie sees things quickly and I'm glad he scored a try himself against his old club.
"We felt in control. I thought in the first 15 minutes of the second half we were a bit scratchy and then we reasserted ourselves."
This was the Men in Black's fifth match since they were able to recall their international players from the autumn fixtures and McCall believes the side are beginning to gel and find their form again.
He said: "After the internationals we had Munster away and we were average in the first half in that game but pretty good in the second half. We played Munster here and played well I thought, then we played Bath away and we were brilliant that day.
"Then we had Northampton at Milton Keynes and won a tight, close game and now we've won today a potential banana skin, so we're going okay."
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