FORMER England Academy captain Adam Milner has given his support to the Class of 2011 as they prepare to take on the Australian Institute of Sport at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (3pm).
Castleford Tigers hooker lMilner (pictured) led the Academy to a 2-0 series win over the Australian Schoolboys in 2010, their first series win over the Schoolboys since 2004, and he believes the current squad can build on that result against the AIS this weekend.
“Playing in the Academy last year was a brilliant experience and one of the best moments of my career so far,” said Milner. “Winning was great but to win in the style we did was even better because it’s not often you get the chance to take on the Aussies.
“I wish the lads all the best and I’m sure they’ll give a great account of themselves. You can see there’s a lot of focus on youth talent at the RFL and there are certainly some very talented players coming through the system and no doubt I’ll come up against a few of them in Super League next season.
“The most important thing for the players on Sunday is to enjoy the experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions but in these sort of games you need to keep calm, stick to the game-plan and stay focused. But I’d urge the players to enjoy the game and make the most of the opportunity.”
Since playing a pivotal role in the success of the Academy last season, Milner has gone on to become a first team regular at the PROBIZ Coliseum and the young hooker is quick to cite his experiences against Australia as a key factor in helping his development.
“The experience of going up against the Australians was a huge boost and proved to be a great stepping stone for Super League,” said Milner. “That series gave everyone involved some valuable experience at an intense level where you needed to be alert for the full 80 minutes and that prepares you well for Super League.
“The set-up I was part of last year was very good and the training we received was second to none so it bodes well for the emerging talent coming through.
“I loved every minute of the camp and working with Dave Elliott was also a valuable experience. He lets us play on the pitch but he taught us all a lot of important lessons in camp and he really helped me bring my game on and I’m sure he’ll do the same with the current team.”
Tickets for the England Academy-Australian Institute of Sport fixture at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday cost just £3 and can be purchased by visiting Leigh Sports Village http://goo.gl/fxTeK Fans can also pay on the day.