Paul McShane says he may never have played for England had Daryl Powell not been his coach, and insists the nation is now focused on winning the World Cup.
McShane is battling for a place at hooker in Shaun Wane’s squad for this year’s tournament. However, he says there was a point in his career that he thought the chances of playing international rugby league had disappeared.
“I thought the opportunity had gone,” McShane reveals on the latest Love Rugby League Podcast.
“When we reached the Grand Final with Cas in 2017 I thought that was my peak, that it was now or never. Then I got overlooked for that World Cup and kind of put my cue in the rack.
“Then the start of pre-season Daryl Powell was saying I want you pushing for England; and for me to keep driving, keep going and it will come. Waney then got the job and gave me my opportunity and debut at 32, which is pretty mad.
“When I first went to Cas there was never a mention of me playing for England but Powelly saw something in me. After a year or two he had the belief that I could push and get in there. Thankfully I did.”
McShane says Wane’s side benefited hugely from the recent game against the Combined Nations All Stars. It is the first time the England squad have got together this year.
He said: “The camp that we have just been on was awesome and was like we had played together every week. Maybe I was just chuffed to bits to be in there but everyone was together, it was a great set up and the staff were great. Maybe I’m just still in awe of being in there.”
Paul McShane: Our only mindset is about winning the World Cup
The Castleford captain has backed the England coach to assemble a group capable of going all the way.
He said: “Our only mindset is about winning the World Cup, there is no other thought process going into it. Our only thought is winning it and making history.
“Critics can say we have no chance. But the coaches work hard and as a group of players we will just go after that task with the determination to win it.
“Wane has been great with me and honest. It is not hard what he wants from his players.
“For me I just have to deliver what he expects from me and you don’t want to let him down.”