Stuart Littler: Chris Hankinson can become starter at Wigan

Drew Darbyshire

Swinton coach Stuart Littler thinks Chris Hankinson has got what it takes to become a starter at Wigan.

Earlier this week, Hankinson joined the Warriors from the Lions with immediate effect for an undisclosed fee on a deal until 2020, with the option of a further year.

The 24-year-old made his debut in Wigan’s derby defeat to St Helens on Thursday and Littler was impressed with Hankinson.

He said: “Chris looked composed on his debut and didn’t look out of place.

“He will get better the more he plays with his new team-mates and he will get better by being in that full-time environment. It is a massive opportunity for him but he knows that he has to take it with both hands.

“He is a great lad and he has a great family as well. He did really well for us and was one of our standout players of the season. The deal works well with us gaining access to some Wigan players until the end of the season.

“It was a massive opportunity for Chris, with him being a Wigan lad, and with Wigan being a top Super League club. They will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and he might even get an Old Trafford appearance, who knows?”

Hankinson adds to the centre competition at Wigan, with him competing for a starting spot alongside the likes of Oliver Gildart, Dan Sarginson and Liam Forsyth.

But Littler thinks Hankinson, who previously played for Salford Red Devils and Leigh Centurions, has got what it takes to make it at Super League level.

He added: “He has been a full-time professional before and now he has been given a chance to do it again.

“He will face challenges like when [Oliver] Gildart comes back from injury and stuff like that, so he will have competition for his place but it is up to him now to be consistent in his actions and push on to show that he is worth a starting spot in the Wigan team.

“He is definitely a great squad player for Wigan to have because he can cover a couple of positions as well like centre, half-back and back-row, so he has got a good utility value.

“He was watching us at Leigh and he will always be welcome back at the club. He is one of us but we wish him all of the best for his career.”