Tomkins delighted by call-up

Joel Tomkins has expressed his delight of being called up to the England squad to face France in the Gillette Fusion International at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday.

The Wigan forward is one of three new faces in Steve McNamara’s 19-man squad and admits that making his debut for England would be one of his and his family’s most proud moments.

“Obviously when I got the call-up, it was a bit of a surprise, but I’m really happy and looking forward to it,” said Tomkins.

“It’s massive for me. It’s been a long-term goal for the last couple of years to get in this squad. I didn’t really expect to be picked last year. I think the lads that got in were probably in better form to be honest, so I was fine with that.

“It’s a big day for my family. Obviously next week if we both get selected it will be a really big day.

“It’s really good, all the family are buzzing at the moment.”

Tomkins joins Bradford’s Nick Scruton and Melbourne Storm’s Gareth Widdop as the new faces in the England squad and is hoping that a good performance against France and a strong finish to the season with Wigan will put him in contention for a place in England’s Four Nations squad Down Under later on this year.

“It’s a really big thing for me but hopefully now I’ll be able to kick on and make it into the team. Looking forward to the Four Nations in October is another big goal for me,” said the Wigan forward.

“It would be a really big trip and like I said a big goal for me but I’ve just got to concentrate in the short-term on playing well for Wigan primarily and hopefully things will come off the back of that.”

The 23-year old has been an integral part of a Wigan side that currently lead the way in the Engage Super League and Tomkins is quick to pay tribute to how the team has developed since the arrival of Head Coach Michael Maguire.

Tomkins said: “I don’t think it’s just me that has improved, I think the whole team has and we’ve been playing really well as team. Individuals are playing well and it’s just coming off the back of a good team performance.

“There’s three of us and there are a few others who are in pretty good form who probably could have been in the squad as well.

“It’s really good for the club and like I said we’re going well this year, but we’ve not won anything yet so we’re just concentrating on what we’ve got coming in the next few weeks.”

Joel and younger brother Sam will be looking to become the first brothers to represent England since 1989 and hopes that supporters will turn out in force for England’s only game on home soil this year.

“Hopefully there will be a decent crowd there, I’m sure the football is a massive game for everybody in the country but like I said hopefully a good crowd will come along and make it a big game.

“It’s the only time we’ll get the chance to play over here this year, so it’s a good opportunity for us to get together as a team and spend a week together. I’m looking forward to it and really looking forward to the game.”

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