Salford full-back Ryan Brierley insists he is ignoring growing talk of an England call-up but admits it would be ‘the ultimate honour’ to be recognised by coach Shaun Wane.
The 31-year-old continued his fine form with a try as the Red Devils ended a six-match losing run at Huddersfield on Friday night to move back into the Super League play-off places.
Born in Preston, Brierley represented Scotland at last year’s World Cup, qualifying to play for the nation through his family.
International eligibility rules would permit Brierley to represent birth nation England this autumn, with Shaun Wane’s side set to play a series against Tonga.
And speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League, Brierley admits that while he is aware of the England talk, that dream would only be realised by a starring role at Salford.
“I don’t focus on any of the England talk, I let you guys do that,” Brierley said.
“England have a number of unbelievable full-backs. Jack Welsby is a once in a generation talent and what he does is pretty special.
“And I think Sam Tomkins is still in some of his best form and isn’t done with England yet. So it’s an honour to be even spoken about, I’ve never even been mentioned with these names before.
“It is every young boy’s dream to play for their country and I’m no different. It would be the ultimate honour and the pinnacle of anyone’s career.
“I’m lucky to have England internationals at Salford who I love learning from every single day.
“I admire everything about Shaun Wane and believe he is doing an unbelievable job for England. But I’m about impressing Paul Rowley at Salford first and foremost, because then I know I’m doing the right thing.
“So it’s nice, flattering, complimentary, especially given I’ve been in the Championship until recently. But more importantly it shows that I’m playing well for the Salford Red Devils which is the most important thing to me.”
‘Right now is probably the best form of my career’ – Salford Red Devils star Ryan Brierley
The Salford spine of Brierley, England pair Andy Ackers and Mark Sneyd, among with Man Of Steel Brodie Croft, was key to the Red Devils run to last season’s play-off semi-finals.
This year both Croft and Brierley have been the subject of transfer talk during a season that the former Leigh man admits has been unsettling. But it is also a season that has seen him find some of his best form.
“Right now is probably the best form of my career and it has taken a long time to find that consistency,” Brierley adds.
“Ultimately that is what you need at the top level in this sport, to keep doing the little things that fans probably don’t see in a consistent basis.
“I guess it is testament to the hard work I’ve put in and the quality of the coaching staff at Salford.
“You forget this is only my third year as a full-back so I still watch Tomkins every week and try to learn things.
“Shaun Wane will always pick the right man and I know that. The squad that he picks will have such a depth of talent which illustrates how hard it is to even get in that squad.
“I think English rugby is on the up and there is a lot of talent out there.”