Northampton Saints: Tom Stephenson in awe of stars
Northampton Saints centre Tom Stephenson has said he is still earning the right to play alongside his international team-mates.
The 20-year-old replaced Samoan George Pisi to partner England's Luther Burrell in Friday's loss to Exeter.
"It's easier to play alongside Luther and George, but I still get really nervous when I step on to the pitch," he told BBC Radio Northampton.
"I don't think I've earned the right to play with them yet."
He added: "But I think I'm getting on the right path."
The performance of England Under-20 international Stephenson against Exeter was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing night for Saints, who were beaten 24-18 after trailing 21-6 at half-time.
Stephenson scored his side's only try in what was his first Premiership appearance of the season, after playing six times last term.
"Hopefully I will have a bit more game time during the internationals," he said.
"I've got to do the basics well and not get carried away. There are some great players in my position, so it's no easy task to get in the side."
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said Stephenson's performance was even more impressive, considering his pre-season was hampered by a series of injuries.
"He was fantastic. That was one of the positives. To see him come back and play like that was really positive," he said.