HOOKER Jack Singleton believes much-maligned centre Ben Te’o’s “calming voice” has been key to keeping Worcester Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership.

Te’o has often faced criticism from Warriors’ supporters due to his lack of availability over the course of his three seasons at the club.

While Te’o’s international career has blossomed since his move to Warriors in 2016, winning 18 caps and starring on a British and Irish Lions tour his time at Sixways has been dogged by injuries.

The marquee player has made just 35 outings in blue and gold and is set to play his final game for Worcester in Saturday’s home clash with Saracens (4pm).

But Singleton has responded to Te’o’s critics by highlighting the 32-year-old’s influence on the squad as Warriors staved off relegation with back-to-back wins over Sale Sharks and Gloucester.

“It is always nice to have someone of his calibre on the pitch,” Singleton said.

“He knows how to manage certain situations when stuff goes against you.

“He is quite a calming voice as he would have been in similar situations. He has been brilliant, especially in the past couple of weeks.

“It has been tough fighting relegation so having someone like him there has been good for us.”

This season, Te’o played just 30 minutes of rugby for Warriors prior to making his first start of the campaign in the defeat at Saracens in late December.

Since then the former Leinster ace has made nine outings, starting in the past six games.

Asked whether he felt the criticism of Te’o was unfair, Singleton replied: “I think so. It is easy to question stuff from the outside when you don’t actually know what is going on at the club.

“I don’t want to shed too much light on what is happening in here.

“But we are quite a tight-knit bunch. No one has said anything or done anything to try to hinder the team in anyway.

“If the fans want to think that then there are more than welcome to but we know what is going on inside. We know what we are trying to do.

“Sometimes it might not come across like that but we are always trying to get better and push ourselves.”

England prospect Singleton who will join Sarries at the end of the season said he had also benefitted from Te’o’s words of wisdom.

“He is a really good bloke,” Singleton said.

“He has always got advice for you.

“Over the last couple of years when I have been involved with England I have probably got a little bit closer to him and had some decent chats with him. He has given me some good advice.

“His record speaks for itself. He has won Six Nations and NRL (National Rugby League) State of Origin titles.

“Anything he tells you is going to be worthwhile.

“He knows how to play the big games and manage yourself throughout the week.

“It’s not like he tells you everything but if you ever need advice on something he is a good guy to go to in the squad, for sure.”