Callum McLelland wants to repay Castleford faith after injury nightmare

Drew Darbyshire
Callum McLelland Castleford Tigers SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Callum McLelland is eager to show Castleford fans what he can do this season after recovering from a horrific 18-month injury lay-off.

The 23-year-old returned to hometown club Castleford ahead of the 2022 campaign from Leeds but has yet to make his debut due to injury.

McLelland has opened up on his gruesome injury, but is confident the dark days are now behind him.

“I ruptured my patella tendon, so basically that snapped in half,” McLelland told Love Rugby League. “My knee cap was pushed further up in to my quad.

“They had to thread through my tendon, drill through my kneecap. But to be honest, it now feels the best it ever has.”

The Scotland international is thankful for his strong support network at home and at the club.

“It was getting me down when I was at home but I can’t enough credit to the people at the club,” he added.

“They didn’t have to do what they’ve done with me. Matty Crowther (club physio) has been unbelievable and the club have been great, the board have been great, Radders (Lee Radford) has been great with me and all of the coaching staff.

“I’ve had such a good group around me. If there is a day that I’m feeling down going into training, by the time I’ve left I’m in a good spot mentally.

“And from being born, my mum and dad and my grandparents have been there for me. My brother is like my best mate, so I couldn’t have asked for a better support cast away from rugby.

“If I’ve had a bad day, they are there to put their arm around me or if I’ve had a good day, they always keep me grounded. I couldn’t thank them enough for what I’ve done.”

Callum McLelland on his 2023 goals

McLelland has yet to feature for Castleford in the opening rounds but he wants to take his opportunity with both hands when given it by head coach Lee Radforrd.

He said: “I’m a Cas lad. I’ve grown up supporting the club and I want to repay them by getting back to my best.

“That’s the main goal for this year, being able to step back on the field and play well. Hopefully I can put myself in the position where the end of the year comes around and I’m happy with how it has gone and that I’ve stayed injury-free.

“If I have to go out on loan or if I’m available at Cas, I just want to put my hand up and help whoever out.”

For club and country

McLelland was born and raised in England and is of Scottish heritage. He made his international debut for Scotland in 2019, helping them qualify for the 2021 World Cup.

And with the European Championship at the end of the year, McLelland is hoping to play a part if he manages to stay injury-free.

“I’ll always put my hand up for Scotland,” he told Love Rugby League. “It’s an honour to represent your heritage and what that means to you.

“Last time I played for them I did really well and I was playing with confidence, so I’m hoping to get back to that and better that this year.

“All I need is consistent game time wherever that may be. I’ve just got to make sure I put my best foot forward when needed.”

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