Josh Charnley relishing England return

Josh Charnley says he never gave up hope of an international return after last week being named among the 31 invitees to Shaun Wane’s first England get-together.
Charnley, 28, has not played for his country since 2014, prior to his cross-code switch to Sale Sharks.

But his form for Warrington Wolves has led his old Wigan coach Wane to open the door for a possible return in this year’s three-match test series against Australia.

Charnley said: “It’s good – it’s been a while.

“The way it’s Shaun that’s picked it makes it a bit sweeter, so I’m excited.

“I never gave up hope.

“It’s one of those where you just have to keep turning up, play to the best of my ability and aim to be the best in the competition.

“There’s a lot of young kids now coming through who are really good.

“I’m coming to the end of my feather now and I need to try and bring it back down and play like a young kid again.”

Asked if the appointment of Wane gave him renewed hope after the pair worked together extensively at Wigan, Charnley responded: “No – I was just focusing on playing well for Warrington.

“If I got that opportunity to put it on again I’d be over the moon, but getting picked in this gathering, I’m still there in the limelight and people are still watching me.

“That’s good – when you’re getting older you think you’re getting pushed away a little bit.

“I’m doing well for my club and if I get the opportunity to play for my country again I’d be over the moon.”

On the decision to hand his former coach the national role Charnley added: “It’s good timing for Shaun to come in and put his mark down on what he wants.

“He is the right man for the job.

“He’ll find out if you’re tough enough and find out the right men for his team and who he wants.

“You know what you’re getting from him – it’s just black and white.

“He brings out the best in you; you know you have to be on your game every week or he’ll just flick you if not.”

Charnley was one of eight Wolves invited to the senior get together, while young fullback Matty Ashton was included on the England Knights list despite having played just three Super League matches and now being ruled out for up to five months with a serious hamstring tear.

But his club coach Steve Price has backed the former Swinton Lion to bounce back from his injury disappointment and hailed his rapid progress in recent months.

“Unbelievable – it’s a credit to Matty, the coaching staff and how hard he’s worked,” Price said of Ashton’s invite.

“There have been elements that have been added to his game to put him into that position.

“I’m really pleased for him, and it’s unfortunate he’s picked up a really serious injury.

“He was doing really well and it was just unfortunate that when he kicked the ball his leg was hyper-extended while he was running quite quickly.

“It’ll be four or five months and it’s a big shame.

“There’s still a fair bit of hard work for him to do to get back onto the pitch, but once he does I’m confident he’ll get back to where he left off.”