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Jim Mallinder backs Luther Burrell for England Six Nations spot

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder feels Luther Burrell has to feature in England's Six Nations plans next year.

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Burrell was a driving force behind Saints' dramatic 23-19 victory over rivals Leicester Tigers on Saturday, helping his side overcome the dismissal of skipper Dylan Hartley.

Hartley was sent off early on at Franklin's Gardens for striking Matt Smith, but Burrell had a key role in keeping Saints within reach and was instrumental in Jamie Elliott's decisive 78th-minute try.

Burrell drove deep into Tigers territory to aid Elliott's score, leaving Mallinder to describe his performance as "outstanding."

The 27-year-old centre played all five Six Nations clashes last year, but a hand injury contributed to him being sidelined for the November internationals.

However, Mallinder feels England would be missing a trick were they not to select him for the clashes in February and March.

"If England don't pick him I don't think he'll ever get selected for England," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Without a doubt he has to go to the Six Nations.

"It was an outstanding performance [on Saturday]. At times we needed someone to carry and get into the heart of them.

"He's been good since coming back from injury and has been outstanding over the last few weeks. I'd have him in my England team."

England open their Six Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff on February 6.

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