Kallum Watkins will play for Jamaica at World Cup if England door shut

George Riley
Kallum Watkins England SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Kallum Watkins has his heart set on an England recall for this year’s World Cup but says he has already spoken to Jamaica about representing them instead.

The 31-year-old is in terrific form having recently returned from an 11-month injury lay-off for Salford and says the carrot of a home World Cup this autumn was a huge factor in his recovery from a devastating third career ACL injury.

On his day one of the most feared centres in world rugby league, Watkins has been impressing in the second-row since his return. And speaking on The Big Interview for this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast, he admits he has unfinished business in the international game.

Watkins said: “I would love to be a part of the England set-up, of course I would, anyone would do to be part of a World Cup.

“Hopefully that can happen but I know how much work I have to do and how good my performances have to be to be part of that team. Hopefully that can happen at the end of the year. That would be a great story for myself, as the last time I wore an England shirt was the last World Cup final so what a story that would be if I could get another jersey.”

Kallum Watkins open to representing his Jamaican heritage

Watkins says he hasn’t spoken to England head coach Shaun Wane since his injury last year and while he remains hopeful that his form can force a way back into the squad, conversations with Jamaica have already taken place.

“I would play for Jamaica if England didn’t work out,” he told Love Rugby League.

“I’ve spoken to them and I would definitely look at the Jamaican team who have earned the right to get into this World Cup. I know that’s important and yeah if it doesn’t happen in the England set-up I would look to do that.

“I’ve been part of that England set up for the last two World Cups and there is still the opportunity there, my last chance for a World Cup so it is something I’m working towards. But of course if I don’t get picked for England I will look at Jamaica and that would be nice as its part of my family heritage and it would be nice for the family.”

That ankle tap

Watkins admits he still has nightmares about his last England appearance, where but for a Josh Dugan ankle tap he could have helped win his country the sport’s biggest prize.

He said: “I always look back (to the ankle tap) and think what if? Elliot Whitehead was on the inside so if I pass he’s in. That gives us the momentum. I remember that game so much we had opportunities to win that game and didn’t take them. 

“But we have younger, talented boys now and loads of experience in the NRL. We have a good crop of young England players in Super League and the guys in the NRL so the future is bright and I am looking forward to it whether I’m part of it or not. The Aussies will be the formidable side but we have a really good group led by Shaun Wane.”

READ MORE: The strongest possible Jamaica line-up at World Cup