SOMERSET and England legend Marcus Trescothick has backed his county teammate Craig Overton to take his Ashes opportunity as and when it comes.

The 23-year-old seamer was overlooked for the first Test in Brisbane, which began at midnight today (Thursday), in favour of Jake Ball, but Trescothick believes the paceman will still play a part in the series.

Speaking to the County Gazette, he said: “Craig can count himself a little unlucky - he played in all the warm-up matches and bowled nicely.

“You got the feeling Ball was their first choice and he’s now recovered from his injury, so they are happy to gamble on his fitness - you have licence to do that with a five-man attack.

“I’m sure Craig will get his chance. It’s very rare for a side to go through an Ashes series unchanged, so he will just have to be ready to take his opportunity when it arrives.”

“Just the experience of being out there will be invaluable to him, so I don’t think not playing in this first one will worry him too much.

“He’ll have to be patient, but I’m sure he’ll carry on doing the business.”

Having featured in the 2002/03 series Down Under, Trescothick has been able to give Overton a taste of what to expect.

“I haven’t said too much to him as I’m sure he’ll work things out for himself, but the main thing to get used to is the pressure and scrutiny from the media,” he said.

“You do have to be prepared for the odd Australian to have their say, but I’m sure he can deal with that.”

The 41-year-old, who played in three Ashes series overall including the famous victory in 2005, believes England's current crop are in for a tough time.

“I’m not as pessimistic as I was a few weeks ago, but I am concerned," he said.

“I think Australia hold most of the cards and they have home advantage, but their squad announcement gave me a bit more hope for England.

“Both sides have frailties, and Ben Stokes is a huge miss for England, but who knows - Australia do have their own issues and, if Stokes can play some part, it may not be clear-cut.”

Stokes' former Durham teammate Mark Stoneman is the latest man to attempt to fill the void at the top of the order alongside Alastair Cook, and Trescothick is a fan of his fellow opener.

“There’s a lot about him that I like," he said.

“He’s a nice character, and I think his style will suit international cricket.

“He’s strong off the back foot and pulls the ball well, which will be handy in Australia, and he’s started the tour with good runs in the tour matches.”

Further down the order, Trescothick admitted he was surprised by the selection of James Vince to bat at three, but added: “You don’t necessarily have to score a shedload of runs in county cricket to earn selection - the careers of Michael Vaughan and myself have shown that.

“We were fortunate to get a chance and we took it, so England will be hoping he can do the same, but there is pressure on him to do the business.”

The build-up to this series has been particularly hostile, with Nathan Lyon accusing Matt Prior of being "scared" on England's last tour, which they lost 5-0, and admitting he hopes the tour will "end the careers" of some visiting players.

“It's all part of it, particularly in an Ashes series and particularly when it’s in Australia," Trescothick said.

“I do think there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and I think Nathan Lyon’s comments did that.

“I’m not sure why he’s digging out players who won’t even be playing in the series - I don’t see the point of that.

“I think the England lads will understand that this is all part of the build-up, and I don’t think it will affect them.

"The first Test is vital, though - England have to get off to a good start.

“If Australia get revved up with the crowd behind them they will be very difficult to stop.

“They have a very good record in Brisbane, so it won’t be easy."

As for the series overall, Trescothick backed the hosts to take the spoils.

"Both sides have their frailties, but I think Australia will edge it 2-1," he said.