Tom Johnstone has potential to be best winger in Super League as ex-England captain backs international call-up

Drew Darbyshire
Tom Johnstone Catalans Dragons News Images

Photo: Gareth Evans/News Images

Sam Tomkins has backed his Catalans team-mate Tom Johnstone for a return to the England fold, saying he has the potential to be the ‘best winger in Super League for a long time’.

Johnstone is currently Super League’s leading try scorer, with 17 tries in 14 games so far this season.

The 27-year-old scored a hat-trick to help the Dragons go top of the Super League table with a 46-22 win over Wigan at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Speaking after the game, Catalans coach Steve McNamara said: “His all-round game has been superb for us all season.

“I’m really pleased for Tom. He’s had a couple of dreadful years with injuries and there was an opportunity for us to get him and he’s just been great since day one.

“He works really hard and does some of the tougher stuff really well there. I’m really pleased for him.”

Sam Tomkins backs Tom Johnstone for England recall

Tomkins, who captained England at last year’s World Cup and has 29 caps to his name, believes Johnstone can become the best winger in Super League for years to come as long as he stays fit as well as adding to his solitary England cap, which came in 2018, scoring a hat-trick in a 44-6 win over France at the Leigh Sports Village.

Tomkins said: “He’s unbelievable. He’s the best finisher in the game.

“As a half-back playing on that side of the field with him, it’s a luxury because you don’t need to create too much. You can just kick the ball around the same area and there’s a good chance he’ll get it down, or you pass the ball and he only needs a couple of inches and he does something special.

“He’s had a tough run of injuries. I think Tommy Makinson has been the best winger for a long time in the competition. But I think outside of that, Tom Johnstone is the best and I think if he stays fit, he’ll be the best winger in the competition for a long time.”

Speaking after their win over Wigan, Tomkins said he believes Johnstone and Makinson are currently two of the best wingers in Super League, which could stand England in good stead moving forwards.

Tomkins added: “I’d say they’re the best two wingers in the comp.

“They’re not only good finishers, but they return the ball well at the other end of the field.

“They take tough carries and they’re both tough lads. Those two standalone as the best two.”

READ NEXT: Catalans boss concedes to losing forward with return to England expected