Stage is set for Alex to make England claim

Alex Walmsley has made an England call-up one of his career goals but is refusing to put a timescale on achieving his ambition
Alex Walmsley has made an England call-up one of his career goals but is refusing to put a timescale on achieving his ambition

This weekend’s clash with Leeds will stand out to Saints forward Alex Walmsley as a reminder of how far he has come.

Earning his chance with the champions in 2013, after grafting his way through the amateur ranks and then with Championship side Batley, he is no stranger to working for his rewards.

And now with supporters calling for the prop to be handed a place in the England squad, the 25-year-old thinks the upcoming trip to Headingley will be a useful audition.

“As a naiton we are blessed to have a formidable pack and it’s going to be a hard pack to break into and these are the games you need to impress in, “ he said.

“There’s no greater honour than playing for your country.

“I’ve never set a timescale – it’s certainly a goal of mine but whether it happens this year next year in 10 years time, it’s certainly something I’m building towards.”

The former Dewsbury Celtic amateur grew up cheering on Leeds, and as a result, he is looking forward to running out at the home of his once heroes more than most.

“It makes me want to beat Leeds that little bit more,” he said. “Everyone wants to beat St Helens.

“It’s up to us to turn up and knock them off that perch. We’ve gone off the boil a little bit so it’s up to us to rectify those things.”

A place at the top of the table will be the reward for the winner on Friday and Walmsley thinks his side will be in the mood to get back to their best.

“Now it’s all about getting form at the right time.We showed glimpses in the last half hour against Widnes where we should be at,” he said.

“As a whole we feel we’re looking to this game for a big improvement. “

l Saints’ Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds will take place on Friday, July 31 at Warrington’s HJ Stadium.

The game will be the first ever Friday semi-final to be broadcast live by the BBC.

The match will kick off at 8pm and be shown live on BBC 2.