Highton returns to Salford

Salford Red Devils have appointed Paul Highton as the club’s new player welfare manager.

The 41-year-old played for the Red Devils between 1998 and 2009. He also represented Wales at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.

He has taken over the role from Garreth Carvell, who left the club to join the Rugby League Players Association and GMB.

On his new role, Highton said: “I’ll be working closely with the players on the off-field stuff, making sure they have that side of the game sorted.

“People say the players these days are a lot more demanding, but I think the game itself has changed and is a lot more demanding so maybe the players do need more.

“I think the perception of the professional sportsman is that they’ve got it all boxed off, they are playing a sport – their favourite thing to do in life – and they are getting paid for it and life is rosy, but it couldn’t be further from the truth sometimes.

“It’s really important that these guys have got a platform and somebody they can talk to about their issues because your parents, your family or your missus are not always the people you can speak to if you have portrayed this persona of yourself as being the hard man or the leader of your family.

“I understand the business we’re in is 24/7, that’s the deal with this role and I knew full well what I was getting myself back into. If I’d have been playing and had that player welfare manager then I’d have been on to them all the time as well.”