Joe Philbin focusing on himself as he eyes first England cap

Drew Darbyshire

Joe Philbin returns for Warrington

Warrington forward Joe Philbin says he is focusing on being the best version of himself as he looks to gain his first England cap. 

The 26-year-old has made 139 appearances for hometown club Warrington since making his first team debut back in 2014, winning the Challenge Cup with the Wolves in 2019.

Philbin took part in Shaun Wane’s first training session as England head coach last week, and would love to represent the country of his birth at this year’s World Cup.

He said: “It was an intense session and it was good to get to train with Shaun and get to see the way that he wants us to play.

“I’m over the moon to get picked by Shaun. He has been very active in the role and has had us on plenty of Zoom calls showing us bits of videos of things he thinks we do well and things we don’t do so well.

“You 100% know where you stand with him so if you are performing well and doing the things he wants then you will obviously be in and if you’re not, then you’ll be out. I know what things I need to do to stay in the set-up.

“There are players from every team who could come in and pick up some form. It is up to ourselves as players to do every little thing that we can. It is not a big thing, it is all the little things you do every single day away from training and picking the right options about what you’re eating – they are the kind of things that it will come down to come the end of the season.

“I’m not going to worry too much about what other people are doing and focus on myself and hopefully that will serve me well.”

READ: Good attitude and a positive mindset: Joe Philbin’s rise to the top

Philbin is eligible to play for Ireland through the family heritage rule and represented the nation in the 2017 World Cup.

He then played for the England Knights in 2018 and then Great Britain on their tour of the southern hemisphere the following year.

Philbin says he would love to earn his first England cap against their match against the Combined Nations All Stars in June – but is just going to focus on making sure he is playing well for Warrington for the time being.

He added: “That is the aim but I just need to focus on my club form and make sure I’m doing everything that I can to be there. I’ve not got an England cap yet and I want to get one as soon as I possibly can so that’s the aim.

“Every game I try to give it my all and if I put an England shirt on, then I would run my blood to water and that’s all I can do.

“Hopefully he (Shaun Wane) likes that as a coach but I’m just going to focus on myself and bring the version of me that I can and hopefully that will serve me well.

“There is a lot of great players in that pack. We are all competitive and we are all competing against each other and that’s the way it should be. We are spoilt for choice really, there are some great lads over in the NRL and some great lads in Super League and we’ve just got to keep bringing it every week.”

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