Holiday on hold as Abdull eyes England debut

OPPORTUNITY knocks for Jordan Abdull this week.

And the Hull KR halfback who pulled out of a family holiday to answer an England call is aiming to take it with both hands – and his trusty left foot.

The Hull-born 25-year-old pivot with a clever kicking game who had a central role in Rovers’ run to a play-off semi-final showdown at Catalans Dragons is hoping for an England debut against France back at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan on Saturday.

The 2021 Man of Steel contender is currently in the pre-match training camp with coach Shaun Wane and the rest of the 20-man squad.

That’s while his wife, two-year-old son and mother-in-law are in Menorca.

“We’d booked a holiday for the end of the season,” explained the former Hull and London Broncos player, who represented England at Under 18 level but two years ago missed out a Knights outing against Jamaica because he was getting married.

“Then I got a call from Shaun Wane, something I never expected, so my plans changed.

“My mother-in-law got a free trip, so she wasn’t complaining, and I can go on plenty of holidays when I retire.

“I couldn’t pass up a chance like this, and to be involved with the England squad is really exciting.”

Abdull is being tipped to partner St Helens star Jonny Lomax in the halves after an impressive season with Rovers under coach Tony Smith and his assistant Danny McGuire.

“I’m just trying to knuckle down and learn as much as I can,” he added. “If I do get the chance to play, fantastic.

“I genuinely didn’t expect this opportunity, and my focus has been on producing consistent performances at club level.

“It’s been a great season so far. I’ve only had the one (thumb) injury, instead of the two or three I’ve tended to pick up previously, and that’s obviously helped.

“Tony has really improved my game, particularly the mental side. As he says, your greatest tool is your mind. It’s let me down in the past, but he has stripped things back and that’s helped me get rid of self-doubt and play with a bit of confidence.

“And Danny is one of the most decorated halfbacks of the Super League era. He’s sees things I don’t, and that’s helped me get better.

“The rest of the team have been great, and things have come together, although I know I’m not the finished article by a long way.

“If I do get to play alongside someone like Jonny (Lomax), I’ll grab everything I can from the experience.”

Abdull admits playing in the World Cup next year has crossed his mind, although he’s trying hard to keep himself in check.

“Now I’ve made my first squad, it has to be the goal,” he continued. “I need to show I’m worth my place, maintain consistency with KR, and try to push on. It’s in my own court.”

The match, which kicks off at 2.30pm and is live on BBC One, is part of a double-header which starts with the women’s international between England and France, live on BBC Two at noon.