Mark Percival optimistic on World Cup fitness after St Helens’ Grand Final win

St Helens centre Mark Percival is hoping to be 100 per cent fit to represent England in the upcoming World Cup, which begins at Newcastle’s St James Park on 15th October.

Percival had been out of action since May with bone fluid in his knee. He made his return in the semi-final win over Salford Red Devils and scored a try in the Grand Final victory over Leeds Rhinos.

He admits that although it doesn’t sound like a serious injury, he was told he was at risk of ending his career if he continued to play on.

“I played the first 15 games thinking I would get through the year quite well, but then it was a weird injury,” said Percival. 

“The specialist wouldn’t allow me to play on until it was gone. That is the advice I had to take.

“I knew it had a chance of it going at some point. It’s still there but it’s getting better. I knew I had two games in me to come back. The rewards are worth it. Getting the win was the main thing.

“The specialist kept saying I couldn’t come back, or I would end up ruining my career. The injury doesn’t sound bad, but it was. I had to be careful and listen to all the advice. 

“They said it would go eventually and it started to show that it’s resolving on scans, so we said we’ll give it a crack and try and get back for the semi-final. It was never a plan to come back for these two games, it just ended up working out that way.”

After helping St Helens to a fourth successful Grand Final success, Percival is hoping he can prove his fitness and be a part of Shaun Wane’s England squad. 

“I am hoping so,” added Percival. “I have got scans. The plan is to have scans to see how it is progressing because it can obviously come back. It can’t come back and ruin your career, but you have to be careful with it now.

“I feel ready to go. I am looking forward to playing for England. It’s still on my mind now.”

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