Holbrook insists he’d love to keep Smith at St Helens

Justin Holbrook admits he understands Matty Smith’s frustrations about his lack of game-time – but has again reiterated he wants to keep the scrum-half at St Helens.

Smith made his first appearance of the season on Easter Monday as the Saints won at Widnes, but he has found himself behind young half-back Danny Richardson for the majority of the campaign thus far.

That has inevitably seen the England international linked with a move elsewhere, with the likes of Salford and Catalans understood to be interested in his services.

But Holbrook has promised his priority is to keep the scrum-half at Saints.

He said: “My opinion hasn’t changed – I’d love to keep him here because he’s not just covering half-back, he’s covering a number of positions.

“I see him as a core part of our 19. At the moment he isn’t sneaking into the 17 which is hard for him. He has been in the 19 every week and is only one opportunity away from playing.

“I know that’s easy for me to say that but it must be hard for him. I can’t fault him at all, he has been fantastic for the squad and great in training.”