Castleford star out to make most of England chance

Adam Milner in action on his debut for England against France. Picture: Matthew Merrick
Adam Milner in action on his debut for England against France. Picture: Matthew Merrick

After achieving his ambition by playing for England for the first time last week Castleford Tigers forward Adam Milner is eager to add more caps in the forthcoming Test series with New Zealand.

Milner, who has made a successful transformation from a hooker to a loose forward in the past couple of seasons, enjoyed his first taste of senior international rugby league as he helped England beat France 44-6 at Leigh.

The 26-year-old has England captain Sean O’Loughlin ahead of him in the pecking order, but is keen to show head coach Wayne Bennett what he can also offer and hopes to get another chance against the Kiwis.

“I’m not just in the squad to make up the numbers,” said Milner.

“I am wanting to push for the 17. I have just got to keep doing my best and hopefully last week’s game has got my foot in the door.

“Obviously we’ve got the Wigan and Warrington players coming into the squad now, but I have just got to keep training well and keep impressing Wayne.”

Milner’s versatility can prove an asset to the England squad, as he showed against France when initially coming off the bench to play at hooker before a switch to his now preferred loose forward role.

In the hooker position he is under no illusions that he faces equally stiff competition for a place with former Castleford team-mate Daryl Clark and NRL player Josh Hodgson in the squad, but he would be happy to step in for either if asked.

He said: “We’ve got Clarky available this week, who has had a fantastic season at nine. I just slotted in there (against France) to give Josh a bit of a rest.

“Obviously he hadn’t played in a few weeks, but I will play anywhere for England whether it’s nine or 13 or wherever they want me. I will put my hand up and do it.”

As a former England Academy captain it has taken Milner a while to step up to the senior level, but he is determined to make the most of it.

He said: “Getting my first cap was enjoyable. I was a bit nervous coming off the bench, but it was one to remember. It was a really good experience.

“We had only had three sessions so it’s fresh, the way we played, but it’s simple.

“It was pretty much a straight forward game plan and very understandable and I thought I did all right.

“There was an assist with Thommo (Luke Thompson) getting over for a try and I just did my job. That’s what it’s about in international football, just doing your job and turning up for each other – and that’s what I did.”

Whether he forces his way into the England team or not Milner believes being part of the England squad can benefit his game when he returns to Castleford.

He added: “It has been a good experience just to be around the boys and be in camp with them.

“Also, being under Wayne. He is such an experienced coach, he teaches you about different things and learning off the likes of James Graham as well, who is a world class front-rower, every day with England is a bonus.”