Mark Percival receives positive words from England coach Shaun Wane

England coach Shaun Wane is confident St Helens centre Mark Percival will have a big year in 2021.

Percival was unlucky with injuries in 2020, with the Saints centre being restricted to five appearances.

The 26-year-old is now preparing for the start of the Super League campaign, and has since received plenty of encouragement from England coach Wane.

Wane told Percival: “I rate you. You are a very, very good player.

“You would be in my starting line-up, don’t be too disappointed (about last season). This was probably word for word of what I said to him.

“You’ll be in my starting line-up and you’ve got this year to make sure I don’t change my mind.

“When you come back from injury, you’ll come back stronger than ever because I know Mark is a very professional kid and he will look after himself.

“I’m a big Mark Percival fan, so he doesn’t need to worry about stuff like that.”

Wane believes John Bateman will return to Wigan an even better player following his two seasons in the NRL with Canberra Raiders.

Wane said: “I think he would have done (come back a better player). Knowing John the way I know him, he’ll be very upset he’s not won a Grand Final.

“We’ve won things over here together, me and John, and he’s not won a Grand Final. He’s been very close but he’s not won one and that would have really upset him.

“He’ll come back here very hungry and he’ll be bang on for Wigan this year I think.”

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