Fielden boost for England

Proud dad Stuart Fielden arrived in Auckland today to join his England team-mates and immediately declared his availability for selection for Saturday’s warm-up game against the New Zealand Maori.

However the Wigan Warriors prop will sit out a match arranged to hone the national team’s preparations for the Four Nations as he overcomes the effects of jet-lag.

Fielden left England the day after his wife Sophie gave birth to their first child and landed in New Zealand just 48 hours before England face the Maori at Mount Smart Stadium.

England had just begun their first on-field training session in New Zealand when Fielden arrived and the 2010 Engage Super League Grand Final winner made no secret of his desire to become involved.

Still wearing the 2XU compression clothing he had worn on the 27-hour flight from Manchester, Fielden headed straight to the dressing room to put on his boots only to be told by head coach Steve McNamara to watch from the sidelines.

“I feel on top of the world and I was desperate to be out there with the boys but I understand Steve’s position,” said Fielden. “He has my best interests as well as the interests of the team at heart but I told him that if he wants me to play against the Maori, I’m ready and raring to go.

“All the way over on the flight with Emirates I saw this training session as the prelude to playing. It’s a little disappointing to have to sit it out this weekend but I know my chance will come if I work hard.”

Fielden’s inclusion in the England 24-man squad for the Four Nations tournament against New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea sees a long-overdue return to the Test fold  for a player who made the last of his 35 international appearances in 2006.

His international recall is the latest in a succession of personal and emotional highlights for Fielden, who as well as playing a key role in his side’s 22-10 Engage Super League Grand Final victory over St Helens two weeks ago is still coming to terms with becoming a father for the first time.

Baby Robbie Adam arrived a few days late but in good health on Monday and dad is delighted with the 9lb 4oz addition to the Fielden family.

“He’s gorgeous and I’d like to extend mine and Sophie’s thanks to all the nurses at Halifax Hospital, especially Sara Hall. They were just brilliant,” said Fielden.

“We are both over the moon and though it’s really hard to leave him behind after knowing him for just a day and a half it’s a wonderful feeling becoming a father.

“These have been the best few weeks of my life. Some people have said in the past that winning a Grand Final is better than becoming a father and I’ve heard others say it the other way round but both have happened to me in just a week and a half.

“All I want now is to help England win the Four Nations.”

England’s warm-up game for the Four Nations against the New Zealand Maori will be screened live on Sky Sports 1 on Saturday morning from 5.15am.

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