Mark Percival hoping to thrive on international stage in 2019 after England rejection

St Helens’ Mark Percival believes failure to feature competitively for England last year has given him an added motivation for the 2019 campaign.

Despite being selected in the 2018 Dream Team, the 23-year old only managed to feature for Wayne Bennett’s side in a warm-up game against France at the Leigh Sports Village, prior to their three-game Test series against New Zealand.

Percival is adamant that his chance will come, and with a Great Britain tour potentially on the horizon, the Saints centre says the disappointment will only spur him on.

“It was more disappointing because I’ve worked towards doing that [representing England competitively] over recent years and I’ve not had chance,” he told loverugbyleague.com.

“It’s nothing to do with the coach, I like him. The other players deserve the shot and they’re all great players because they won the series for England.

“It’s just quite disappointing not to play; all I’ve ever wanted to do is play for my country.”

The agony is made all the more demoralising given the fact that Percival has been around the England squad on every occasion in 2018.

Nevertheless, the Saints number four insists that he and Bennett – who also coaches South Sydney – have a good relationship and hopes that his performances at the Totally Wicked Stadium in 2019 can help push himself further into the plans of his national team boss.

“Wayne has told me he likes me and trusts in me,” Percival stated. “He just wants to go with the centres that he picked for that series.

“It’s happened a few times now and you always question does he like you, but he’s a great coach and have the upmost respect for him.

“I think what it does for me as well it motivates me to go back training and keep going again each year to try and improve on the year before.

“I always keep myself on my toes and never settle for anything less than I know I can do.”

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