Paul McShane has revealed the key to his strong early-season form.
He believes it’s because he celebrated his 30th birthday on 19 November last year.
And like a fine wine, he is improving with age.
But the landmark birthday brought it home to McShane that time was no longer on his side.
And that has prompted a response that has seen him produce the best form of his career at the start of 2020, with the hooker currently leading the Man Of Steel charts by six points.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed by England coach Shaun Wane, who had invited McShane to his first gathering as England head coach before it was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“When I hit 30 I realised I was coming to the back end of my career and if I wanted to achieve something by the end I’ve got to work even harder,” McShane told League Express.
“I’m probably hungrier now than when I was younger, probably because I’ve not got long left and I want to win trophies in my career.
“At the back of your mind you want to go out with a bang. You think of some of these lads and what they’ve done for this club. People probably didn’t expect it, but they’ve been outstanding. People like Michael Shenton have helped me so much to mature. But we want to end saying we’ve won something and I want to pull an England shirt on. If I can do that, then I’ll be satisfied.”
When quizzed on what has brought an upturn in his performances, McShane said: “I’ve got a new lease of life in my running game.
“Powelly has been into me since the back end of last year to get my running game back. He made it clear that if I wanted national team recognition I had to get it back. In the last few years I’ve probably tried too much to organise the team.
“But now we’ve got two young halves who want the ball and they do that organising, which has given me the freedom to run again.”
An international call-up now seems closer than ever for McShane, who lost out in 2017 to James Roby and Josh Hodgson.
However, McShane is refusing to get carried away until he dons the white jersey.
“I had a taste in 2017, and I attended a few meetings that year but I didn’t make the cut.
“But I’m desperate to do it, to be able to say I’ve represented my country and made my family proud.
“Once I put an England shirt on I’ll be satisfied, but until then I can’t build my hopes up too much.”