Fielden hasn’t played internationally since the 2006 Tri Nations series and his anticipated return to action this year in England’s Four Nations warm-up game against New Zealand Maori last weekend had to be postponed due to the birth of his first born child.
But the Wigan Warriors prop, who was forced to watch the Maori game from the sidelines after Steve McNamara ordered him to rest up following his delayed journey Down Under, has been desperate to get stuck in to the action from the moment he touched down.
“It was very tough watching the game on Saturday,” said Fielden. “I had itchy feet to say the least and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up during the national anthem.
“It was good to see the boys playing however and we’re not down about the result. We’re realistic and we know that the Maori aren’t at the same level as the Aussies, but for us to play well for the first half after only two days of training is a bonus for us and shows our potential.”
Fielden’s experience will be invaluable to the England pack after talismanic captain Adrian Morley was ruled out of the Four Nations series after rupturing his bicep during the Maori game, but new dad Fielden is confident that this side will be able to recover from the loss and build on the atmosphere in camp.
“Losing Morley has been disruptive in a way, but because we haven’t been here that long it has softened the loss,” said Fielden. “Moz is a very good leader and a good bloke so if we’d got a few weeks down the line we’d be used to his leadership and his go-forward around the camp so it would have been more disruptive than it is now.
“He’s still a massive loss for the side and it’s very unlucky for him, but guys like Gareth Carvell and the other props now have the chance to step up to the mark if they’re asked. Training together and shared adversity is what brings teams together and what wins games. I think we’ve got one of the best groups of players in terms of being together and I think that’s a massive credit to Steve McNamara for the atmosphere he’s built, because even on day one the atmosphere in camp was perfect.”