Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale is delighted to have capped his excellent second season with the club by earning selection for England for the forthcoming Four Nations tournament and Test match against France.
Gale was part of the England set up last year, but was denied the chance to make the international debut he has made no secret of wanting and is eager to make up for that after a season in which he has proved statistically to be the best scrum-half in Super League.
Topping the charts for most points scored, most goal kicks and most try assists helped the 28-year-old player to win the Albert Goldthorpe Medal for the second year running and to earn selection for the Super League Dream Team, also for the second year in a row.
Now he wants to achieve his ambition to play for England and cannot wait to get going.
He said: “I’m over the moon to have received the phone call saying I’m in the squad and really looking forward to joining the boys in the camp.
“It was a good learning curve last year and hopefully I’ll get to pull on the white shirt this year.
“I’m obviously excited to be going up against the world’s best. Every athlete wants to challenge themselves at the top level and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Gale acknowledged the part played by the Castleford club in getting him on the radar for international honours.
He said: “I think my game has come on massively since I joined Cas. Daryl Powell has been a massive influence and the boys playing the brand of football they do has helped me.
“We have had massive injuries, so I think what we’ve done, to finish fifth, it has been an outstanding season and a massive achievement.
“We’ve had some crucial injuries throughout the year. We’ve had a number of people at stand-off – props, hookers, they’ve all had a go.
“I think we are probably the best attacking side in the competition. If we can really sort our defence out in the off-season and keep teams to below 20, hopefully we can be a top four team. That’s what Powelly speaks about and it’s what we want to be.
“We will be working hard and fingers crossed we don’t get as many injuries. We’ve had Michael Shenton, Ben Roberts and Andy Lynch – three crucial players – out all year. If we can avoid injury I think we will go well.”