When England run out at London’s Olympic Stadium to face New Zealand this autumn, Keiron Cunningham hopes it will act as a home game for one of his players.
Londoner Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook has been in impressive form throughout his time at St Helens – but he hasn’t pulled on an England shirt since 2009.
I’ve always been a big fan of Louie’s and I’ve always been one to put Louie out there and say he’s one of the greatest players at the club in his effort and his enthusiasm and everything he doesSaints head coach Keiron Cunningham
Following the versatile forward’s try-scoring display in the Magic Weekend win over Warrington, Cunningham thinks he could be grabbing the attention of England coach Steve McNamara.
“He’s been brilliant,” said the Saints coach.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Louie’s and I’ve always been one to put Louie out there and say he’s one of the greatest players at the club in his effort and his enthusiasm and everything he does. Previous coaches always tried to find why Louie had a dip in form and I never thought he did.
“I’m still waiting for this dip in form – he’s been outstanding.”
Cunningham feels McCarthy-Scarsbrook is graduating from his role as a prop to a position in the back row – and hopes McNamara picks his team to face the Kiwis in a three-match series on form come the end of the season.
“He (McCarthy-Scarsbrook) can hold his own with any of the England back-rowers,” said Cunningham.
“For me you should go with form in the competition.
“You shouldn’t pick someone because five years ago they had a great game for England – you should pick someone because they are doing really well – and if you look at Steve Mac’s squad he has done.
“But Louie is up there with the best in the competition. He’s in the back of people’s minds.”
Cunningham revealed McCarthy-Scarsbrook was in line to come into the England squad for last season’s Four Nations, but was kept out due to him needing surgery on his neck.
And Cunningham feels the forward is overcoming obstacles which once held him back.
“To play at a high level consistently when he was younger – it’s all part of learning and I think he’s at a stage now where he deserves a call,” he said.
l Saints have announced McLaughlin & Harvey as its East Stand partner for the next two seasons.
The agreement will see the stand renamed.