JONNY Lomax is hoping the injury which kept him out of England’s Four Nations squad will propel him to greater things next season.
Lomax won Super League’s young player of the award after helping St Helens to their sixth consecutive Grand Final.
The 21-year-old then experienced a rollercoaster few days – winning his first England call-up 48 hours after losing to Leeds at Old Trafford, only for injury to rule him out of the Four Nations.
Lomax, though, is refusing to dwell on the negatives, and is instead focused purely on the benefits.
He said: “The ankle is now doing better than expected, and we still hope I won’t need an operation.
“I’ve torn the ligament off the bone, but with a bit of time it should heal by itself, so I’m in a boot for four or five weeks and then straight back to rehab.
“It was an up and down week, and a bit of a rollercoaster emotionally, but I’m looking at the positives of it, which is that I’ll get a full pre-season.
“I didn’t really have one last year, because I had a bit of a niggle throughout the season, and it took longer than expected to heal in the off-season.
“Hopefully, having nearly a full pre-season will help me, because when you’ve missed it you always feel like everyone has a jump on you.
“And when you’re trying to get yourself a place in the first team, you can’t really afford to let that happen.”
Lomax started the season as a utility player, but over the course of the season made the scrum-half berth his own.
His progress was such that England boss Steve McNamara promoted him from the England Knights set-up to the full squad.
Lomax said: “At the beginning of the year, I would never have thought that I’d get a call-up to the England squad, so when I did it was an unbelievable feeling.
“To have the chance to play for your country taken away from you is gutting, so one of my goals for next year is to try and stay in the elite training squad to give myself every chance of making an international game.”