JON Wilkin has laid down a challenge to Saints’ young turks: Prove you’re ready for England.
Teenagers Jamie Foster and Jamie Lomax have been in stellar form this season, as the club grapples with a near-unprecedented injury crisis.
And Wilkin believes the club’s youngsters now have the opportunity to press their case for international honours.
“It’s a big season for the young lads, they’ve proved they can compete at Super League level, now they need to prove they can take the next step,” Wilkin told the Reporter.
“As a club, we’ve been used to producing players who can play at international level at a young age, like Paul Wellens, James Roby and James Graham. Wello was capped at 19; I was at 21.
“We have a great system for producing young players, and it is up to them to take the opportunity and prove themselves as international players.”
The England ace has already filled three different positions this season, but refuses to blame the team’s up and down form on injuries to key players.
“I started off at loose forward, went to second row and now I’m at stand-off,” said Wilkin.
“I’m blessed to play this game, so it doesn’t matter to me where I play; I’ll play wherever is best for the team. It’s is certainly something I bring to the team, and I feel confident playing where I’m needed.
“Our form has been okay, but we we are not where we want to be. You just can’t blame it all on injuries. Look at the Harlequins game. You can’t blame that defeat on injuries. Certainly, it has been really bad luck, but you are going to get injuries in rugby league. We have a fantastic medical team and it’s nothing that we are doing in training, so you just have to get on with it.”