Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton is using his disappointment at being dropped by England as a big motivation for the season ahead in Super League.
After a highly impressive campaign in 2014 Shenton was named in the Super League Dream Team and played in England’s first Four Nations international against Samoa only to be left out for the games against Australia and New Zealand – with Wigan’s Dan Sarginson preferred.
The Cas man was disappointed with the decision of England boss Steve McNamara and is determined to prove to him that he should be a first choice centre, as he is with the Tigers as they go into a new season full of belief that they can emulate last year’s efforts.
He told the Express: “Getting in the England squad is always an aim. It’s one of the biggest honours you can have to represent your country.
“I think I’ve got a point to prove. I went down under with England and to get picked in the squad was a big thing, but I wanted to play. I only got to play one game so I was disappointed.
“It was awesome to be part of it, but to be not playing in the Australia and New Zealand games was hard to take.
“I suppose that will help me be fired up for this season.
“I’ve got to use that as a motivation in my game from my personal point of view and make sure I play consistently well.
“It will be different this year as I’ve got new half-backs to combine with so I’ve got a bit of work to do to make sure our left edge is firing. But we are working hard in training.”
Shenton was left out of the pre-season game against Bradford because of a minor back problem, but is getting close to full fitness now and expects to be given a run out in the home warm-up against Widnes on Sunday week.
He said: “I had a few little niggles coming back from Australia, just the long season and the travel.
“It was just little bits because I played a lot of rugby last year, but the staff have been great with me, the conditioner and physio have freshened me right up so by the time the season comes round, fingers crossed, I will be pretty much ready to rock’n’roll.
“Hopefully I will play against Widnes. That‘s the one we’re hoping to get a lot out of.
“You don’t expect everything to be perfect, but by then our structure should be good and the intent we play the game should be there.”
Shenton is delighted to be skipper once again and continues to see it as a great honour.
He added: “It’s nice to have the responsibility. It suits me and I’m really happy to continue to be captain and really happy that Daryl has selected me to do it again.
“I was really proud to lead my hometown team out at Wembley last year.”