RISING star Will Butler hailed the influence of midfield “mentor” Ryan Mills in his development at Worcester Warriors.

The 21-year-old centre is one of the shining lights to come from the club’s youth system and is expected to challenge for the number 12 jersey next season.

Mills has made that position his own at Sixways having started at inside centre 19 times during the 2018-19 campaign.

But Butler said the battle for places has not stopped Mills from passing on words of advice to the young pretender.

“We have a mentor system at the club where each academy player has a senior player in their position which they can go to – and mine is Ryan Mills,” Butler said.

“It is great to have those chats.

“It does not have to be formal meetings but just little conversations on and off the pitch about certain things in your position.

“Having an old head there to guide you through is really good.”

Mills who joined Warriors from Gloucester in the summer of 2014 is just six appearances away from becoming a club centurion.

The 27-year-old is viewed as a leader within the squad having stepped up to captain Worcester on a number of occasions last season.

“He is a great person to have at Warriors,” Butler said.

“He is always around the club and has been really good towards my own development, helping me along the way.”

Asked what he had learnt from Mills, Butler added: “There are things that you probably do not see on matchday, like the little ins and outs of how to defend at 12 so the communication side of things and decision making in defence. He is really good in those areas.”

Butler made just five first-team outings last term due to injury. But having landed a two-year senior contract the academy graduate who is battling to overcome a fractured forearm is determined to make his mark in the 2019-20 season.

“It’s nice to have that backing,” said Butler on earning a new deal.

“I want to try to put as much pressure on the starters as I can throughout pre-season, work hard in the gym and see how next season goes.”