I texted Cadan Murley the moment he was called up to the England squad on Monday. He was one of the academy lads who came through when I was at Harlequins and I loved watching him develop from a stocky schoolboy. It was a proud moment. He messaged me straight away and a few hours later we met at my local pub in Esher.

“I’m buzzing,” he said. “Before the official notification, I was not told anything. The only clue I had was a text from [England defence coach] Anthony Seibold asks if I can meet this afternoon. There was no heads up for my parents or anything like that. I found out on Instagram!’

Kadan’s parents live in my hometown of Salisbury. His father, John, works at one of the army bases there, and that military discipline was passed down. You see a lot of young people with amazing athletic ability, but not all of them share Kadan’s ability and willingness to listen and learn.

Eddie Jones has handed Harlequins winger Cadan Marley his first England call-up

“Dad is now in his last year of service in the army,” he said. “He has been working at the Royal School of Electrical Mechanics for 37 years! We ended up in Salisbury, but between the ages of two and seven we lived on base in Sennelager, Germany. Dad left for Iran and Afghanistan, and mom stayed to take care of me and my sister.

“That’s where I played rugby for the first time. Mom and Dad started the Paderborn Pirates Rugby Club and it all went from there. Training in 12 inches of snow! Father loved the military speech in the team. Napoleon, Winston Churchill… you name it. As if they were going into battle! All my teammates thought they were awesome, but I’d heard them all a hundred times before!

“Dad always said, ‘Earn your stripes, listen and learn from others and you’ll get better in the end.’ I guess that’s the military way and I’ve been lucky enough to learn from guys like you. I appreciate everything you have done.’

John played for Harlequins in the nineties, once playing against Neil Beck in a trial match. He was a full-back who liked to poke his head into the break. If Kadan, now 23, was a few inches taller, he could easily be an international back row. He’s like a faster version of Jack Nowell in the way he comes off the wing and looks for work around. That’s one of the reasons he’s the best left wing in the country right now.

Morley (right) was one of the boys who came through when Mike Brown (left) was at Harlequins

Morley (right) was one of the boys who came through when Mike Brown (left) was at Harlequins

“Funnily enough, my mum went to school with Jack Nowell’s parents,” he said. “I played in the back row until I was 16, but I didn’t grow up and get a bit quicker. The coaches threw me in the center, then I moved to the wing. Richard Hill went to my school, so I was someone I looked up to.

“This disassembly work is now one of my strong points. I like getting into those tight spots. It’s good to have different strings to your bow. I talked to [Quins coach] Tabai Matson and discussed the idea of ​​playing a little more at the age of 13 in the club. This is probably my favorite position. I like to run the line, not be at the end. The way the game goes, you have to be versatile.”

One of the last times I saw Kadan was at his home in Guilford, where he lived with Marcus Smith. Most of the time they were inseparable together with Hugh Tizard. It’s obvious how their close bond helps them on the field.

“Marcus just moved out and bought a huge new place!” he said. “We’ve been playing together since we were 16, so that connection helps a lot. Reading what he’s thinking gets easier over time. I know what he likes to do and that’s why I spend a lot of time hugging the sideline because he can do a cross-kick from anywhere. He will always look across once, but if he looks across twice, I know it’s on. Such small signals of body language.’

I’d like to see Cadan, Tommy Freeman and Freddie Steward together in England’s back three with Henry Arundel on the bench. I’m sure Nowell will have something to say about that because he played brilliantly.

But for me, this is the best combination for the 2023 World Cup and beyond. If given a run of games together, they could be deadly by next year. I was interested to know if England head coach Eddie Jones had given Cadan any specific things to work on.

The 23-year-old has previously played for England at Under-18 and Under-20 level

The 23-year-old has previously played for England at Under-18 and Under-20 level

“I’ve had a few conversations with Eddie,” he said. “He wanted me to work on my pursuit and contact on defense. Most teams are fielding 10 and 15 backs now, so there’s a lot of emphasis on your defensive reads on punts and tackles.

“It was good to get a run of games. For a while I really didn’t know what kind of winger I wanted to be. My weight was all over the shop. I went up to 104 kg [16st 4lb]like a small bowling ball, but I realized that I can only take four attempts in a game instead of 12. I changed my training and started eating differently and now I am 94 kg [14st 11lb].

“My first goal this season was to be selected for the camp. Hopefully I can get my first cap, but I just want to take the opportunity and learn. I’ve been at Quins for six years and haven’t experienced anything but this, so it’s exciting to be in a new environment. Picking the brains of guys like Owen Farrell and Jack Nowell. Try something new.”

I hope Caddon has a big game against Sale today so he arrives in the England camp with a spring in his step. He has looked so confident on the Harlequins pitch this season, even though Queens have not had the best start to the season. They are giving up too many points and need to strengthen their defense.

“We are very disappointed at the club,” he said. “Leicester impressed us with their breakdown and line speed last week. Eventually we started going deeper, hitting the other man earlier and moving the point of contact, but we didn’t adapt until the 65th minute. We can’t expect to give up 30 points every game and still win. We need to narrow it down to two or three. We will get there.”

I hope so and wish Kadan the best of luck. Nobody deserves it more and if he gets his chance I have no doubt he will have a brilliant international career. You never forget the day of your first call-up to England. It was my pleasure to be a part of his big day.