Highly-rated Wakefield Trinity forward James Batchelor has stressed that he’s trying not to get carried away by his impressive start to life as a first-team player at Belle Vue: although pressure from his family is likely to keep him firmly on his toes!
The 18-year-old, who made his debut for the first-team at the end of last season after touring Australia with the England Academy squad, is the latest youngster out of Wakefield’s promising youth development setup tipped for a bright future in the game.
However, Batchelor told TotalRL that he is determined not to let the considerable hype placed on his young shoulders get to him.
“I’ve loved every minute of it so far,” he told TotalRL. “It’s been tough but so rewarding.
“England was brilliant; touring Australia and being involved with the set-up is something I’ll never forget and I think it really brought the most out of me and prepared me for making my debut. But that’s given me a taste of it now and I want it even more,
“All my family are Wakefield fans and they’re all season ticket holders so there is some pressure there though, I guess! The lads were really welcoming though when I came back from England and that helped me settle in and I think I’m in good shape going into 2017.
“Pressure doesn’t get to me. I just want to enjoy playing rugby because I know I won’t be doing it forever so I just want to get out there and play my best rugby.”
Batchelor follows in the footsteps of young stars like Tom Johnstone and Max Jowitt – both homegrown stars who made a considerable impact in the Trinity first-team in 2016.
And the forward admits that he does look up to the duo following their exploits last season.
“There’s so much potential in this clutch of youngsters,” he said.
“Tom won Young Player of the Year last year and Max played plenty of games but they’re still keeping their feet grounded and trying to develop lads like me and Judah Mazive – I’m really grateful.
“I can look up to those guys because they’re still young and they’ve shown that the pathway is there for Wakefield lads. I know there’s an opportunity thanks to Chezzy (Chris Chester) having faith in youth.”
And despite being tipped for a bright future, Batchelor has insisted he has not set himself any targets or aims for 2017 – he simply wants to play rugby.
“I’ve not really set myself any goals I just know I need to work hard on the areas of my game Chezzy has targeted and hopefully that will translate into me getting a few more games this year.”