PREMIERSHIP player of the month Freddie Burns is not worried about keeping his feet on the ground – his family will do it for him.
The 22-year-old fly-half has scooped the Premiership’s October player award – but quickly laid the credit at the feet of his Gloucester team-mates.
Admitting the jibes come thick and fast from the close-knit Burns clan, the livewire playmaker said the family stick keeps him on his toes – and a smile on his face.
Burns’ impressive showings in back-to-back Gloucester wins over Bath and Leicester at Kingsholm last month have helped him land this gong – his second player of the month award this year, after lifting the prize in February.
While all and sundry marvelled at his chip-and-collect try in Gloucester’s 27-21 Leicester win, Burns revealed his parents were less impressed.
Always ready with a loving quip, Burns explained how his family brought him back down with a bump.
“After my chip against Leicester, all they said was ‘well, you got tackled by Geoff Parling’,” he laughed.
“It’s great, because it keeps me flat-out grounded, there’s no chance of getting ahead of myself or anything like that.
“They are very funny, always ready with a bit of stick – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“To be honest it would be weird if they stopped.
“But it helps keep things normal, no matter what else is going on.
“There are always gimmicks around playing at this level, and being around the England squad, people give you boots and things.
“And that’s great, but at the end of the day, that only comes off the back of playing well – and it will all be taken away if you don’t play well.
“So for me it’s quite simple, I just keep my head down and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Hailing Gloucester’s gritty forward pack and the midfield men around him keeping him right, Burns said he accepted the award as further proof of the club’s positive progress.
He continued: “It’s always nice to get some recognition for what’s been a relatively decent start to the season, but it’s more for the club than me personally I think.
“As a fly-half it’s all about being given the platform, and the forwards have been outstanding all year, so this is credit to them for what they’ve done.
“They’ve been giving us the ball on the front foot and that’s a huge help.
“And then I’m working with the likes of Billy Twelvetrees, Mike Tindall and Henry Trinder helping me out too.
“It’s really a team effort this, I don’t see it so much as an individual award for myself.
“They’ve put me in the areas and given me the opportunities to just play the game I like to play, and I’m very thankful for the award.
“First and foremost any player will say they want the wins over any kind of recognition.
“So it’s just nice to be able to look back over October as a month of success against two quality clubs at home.
“And now the challenge is to keep it going.”