Leeds full-back Jack Walker says he is bigger and stronger than ever before as he looks set to return to action.
The 22-year-old missed the majority of the 2020 season with a foot injury. The same injury ruled him out for the entirety of the 2021 season. However, almost two-years without a game, the England Knights representative is set to return to the field this weekend in a pre-season friendly against Bradford.
It will be Leeds’ third pre-season game so far, having defeated both Wakefield and Featherstone in their preparations for 2022.
Walker, who has received the number one shirt for the upcoming season, says his time off has allowed him to put some size on and prepare for a full season.
“I’m bigger than what I was”
Speaking to club’s Youtube channel, Walker said: “If all goes good this week with training, which so far has gone perfect, I’ll be fit and ready to go Sunday.
“I’m really excited. Just to be out there with the boys just pushing on. I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to get out there now.
“I’ve just come back. I’m just confident. It’s been a while but I’m not going to shy away from anything. (I want to) just try and get back to me.
“I’m bigger than what I was and stronger. I did some speed training yesterday and I think I’m faster than what I was. So just a better version of me.
“I’m just focusing on the short-term goals. Bradford this weekend, I’ll focus on that and let the rest take care of itself.
“Since I’ve come straight in (from academy), I’ve kind of been in a child’s body playing in a man’s game.
“I’ve never really got a pre-season as every pre-season I end up getting an operation, so I’ve had to recover from that and then I’d go into another season not fully ready as a man’s body.
“I’ve had a couple years out to put some size on and be ready.”
Jack Walker welcomes competition
In his absence, Richie Myler has impressed at full-back for the Rhinos. However, Walker has welcomed the competition to fight for the starting spot at the back.
“There’s loads of competition for places,” he said.
“I’ve obviously got Richie in my spot. It’s everywhere and it’s good to have someone there. It pushes you and makes you work harder. It’s all positive.
“Like I say, I’m looking forward to this weekend and putting my best foot forward.”
READ MORE: Leeds confirm 2022 squad numbers