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Former England winger Christian Wade will contend for a spot on an NFL team after being named on the league’s International Player Pathway Program, the NFL announced on Thursday.

Wade quit Premiership Rugby side Wasps in October in order to pursue a career in the NFL and will join athletes from four other countries on the scheme, which was set up in 2017 in order to provide international players the opportunity to showcase their talents to league scouts.

The 27-year-old, who is third on the Premiership’s all-time try scorers list, will begin training alongside draft hopefuls in January and could then be signed by a team as a free agent for the 2019 season. The program would also allow Wade the opportunity to join a team’s practice squad if he does not get picked up in March’s draft.

Wade is one of two former rugby players attempting to make the switch to the NFL this season, alongside Australian rugby league player Valentine Holmes. Fellow Australian Jordan Mailata was drafted in the seventh round by the Philadelphia Eagles last season, having also joined the Pathway Program following a career in rugby.

The Carolina Panthers’ Efe Obada became the first player to join an NFL side through the program in 2017, while Christian Scotland-Williamson and Tigie Sankoh are other British players to enrole in recent seasons.

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Former Rugby Union star Christian Wade is being coached by former Washington Redskins running back Mike Sellers as he starts his NFL journey in the IMG Academy in Florida.

Wade was continually overlooked for England selection during his time at Wasps, despite his consistent try-scoring form. Wade was not given the opportunity to add to his solitary England cap by head coach Eddie Jones, which came against Argentina in 2013.

Germany’s David Bada, Moubarak Djeri and Jakob Johnson, Brazil’s Dural Neto and Mexico’s Maximo Sanchez complete the list of seven players.



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