Mark Percival keen to play for England at World Cup despite injury concern

Mark Percival St Helens PA

St Helens centre Mark Percival is hoping to get the green light from a knee specialist to play for England in a home World Cup.

The 28-year-old was out of favour during Wayne Bennett’s rein as England coach. He made his only appearance at the last World Cup in the final game of the group against France as England went on to reach the final.

Percival is in the plans of Bennett’s successor Shaun Wane; and that has made him even more eager to prove his fitness ahead of the opener against Samoa.

He said: “It’s important to me because obviously I’ve been in the squad over the last few years but never really played under Wayne Bennett.

“For whatever reason he didn’t want to play me. I’m still striving to play for England, especially when the coach is interested in playing me.

“I’ve spoken to Waney and I want to get out there and play.”

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Mark Percival hoping for positive injury news

Percival was out for four months with bone fluid on his knee until making his comeback in St Helens’ Super League semi-final win over Salford.

He was then a try scorer in Saints’ 24-12 win over Leeds in Saturday’s Grand Final at Old Trafford but admits his injury woes are not quite in the past.

“I played the first 15 thinking I was going to get through the year quite well,” Percival said.

“It’s a weird injury really and heals itself over time. It was something the specialist wouldn’t allow me to play with until it was gone, otherwise it would end up ruining my career.

“It was bad so it was advice I had to take. It’s still there but it’s getting better. I knew I had it in me with two games to come back in.

“The plan is to have some more scans to see how it’s progressing. I know I got through the games and I might look OK but I’ve had anti-inflammatory tablets and a couple of painkillers leading into the games to help me get through them.

“I’ve got to reassess now and see where I go.

“I feel ready to go and I’m looking forward to playing for England. I just need to speak to the specialist. If he gives me the all-clear I’m 100% committed to England.”

Wane will announce his 24-man squad on Friday. He is unlikely to select any of the Grand Finalists for their warm-up match against Fiji on October 7.

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