England recognition for seven Castleford players is pleasing for Tigers boss Powell

England boys: Castleford Tigers duo Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner in their England shirts when they played against France last year. Picture: Matthew Merrick
England boys: Castleford Tigers duo Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner in their England shirts when they played against France last year. Picture: Matthew Merrick

Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell is pleased to see seven of his players included in England squads this week and believes there could have been more.

Front-rower Liam Watts and half-back Jake Trueman were selected for the England Performance Squad for the first time along with England regular Luke Gale and loose forward Adam Milner who made his international debut last year.

Back-rower Oliver Holmes has retained his place in the England Knights Performance Squad as has outside back Greg Minikin who was selected for the Papua New Guinea tour last year until injury ruled him out.

A third Cas player has made the Knights selection with utility player Alex Foster – who has played back-row, front-row, loose forward and centre for the Tigers in the last two seasons – included for the first time.

Other Tigers players could yet come into the reckoning for the end of season squads if they can impress in the Betfred Super League with Paul McShane particularly unlucky to miss out this time and the likes of Mike McMeeken and Greg Eden having the ability to push their claims for a place.

Tigers boss Powell is happy to have seven in the squads for now.

He said: “I am really pleased. We could potentially have had another one or two, but it is pleasing players who are working within our systems are getting recognised.

“Hopefully all those guys and maybe one or two more can go on the tour at the end of the year. It is a fantastic thing to do.

“I was fortunate to do that myself, go on tour with Great Britain and it’s a great honour. I hope some of our boys will be on that trip.”

There was no place again for Tigers player of the year Paul McShane, who is once again leading the way in 2019 and currently in second place in the Man Of Steel voting, but

Powell believes the hooker’s time could still come.

He added: “He has just got to keep going, keep playing well.

“James Roby at the moment is playing right on top of his game and there’s Josh Hodgson and Daryl Clark so there’s some unbelievable nines around at the moment and Paul’s right in the middle of that.

“He has to keep improving, keep playing well and hopefully he will get the chance.

“You have always got to keep trying as much as you possibly can. Wattsy has changed some things about himself and I think Macca is always improving, he needs to change a couple of little bits and pieces possibly and then you never know.

“There’s nothing to say he doesn’t go on tour at the end of this year. He’s just got to have an outstanding season again.

“That’s all he can do, he can’t do anything else. It comes down to somebody else’s decision at the end of the day, but he would not look out of place.

“Just keep working hard, keep getting better and when you come up against the better nines you’ve probably got to be better than them.”