Danny Richardson admits he comes to Castleford aiming to prove a point to those who have forgotten about him and his excellent 2018 season.
And he insists that he couldn’t sit around and watch his career stagnate any longer.
The 2018 Dream Team halfback’s move to the Tigers from St Helens was formally completed last week, and he admits that having sat on the sidelines for most of 2019, he struggled to deal with being second-choice to regular pairing Theo Fages and Jonny Lomax at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
However, Richardson said that his move to West Yorkshire is the ideal opportunity to show his critics that he is still capable of performing at the highest level.
“A lot of people have forgotten about me and the 2018 season and they believe that I’ve suddenly become a bad player overnight,” he said.
“So I’ve got a lot of reminding to do of what I am capable of.
“I was 23 in September and these are my years when I need to be playing as much rugby as I can and improving as a player. I have aspirations to go on and play for England and play at the highest level and I am not going to do that by getting flogged every week and not playing games.
“It came to a point where I could have stayed at St Helens for another year and maybe pushed my way back in and I wouldn’t have moved. But, when Castleford showed how much interest they had in me, I couldn’t turn down the chance to play every week at a good club like this, so I ended up taking the leap.”
Richardson conceded that 2019 has been a year to forget individually, despite the contrasting emotion of watching his St Helens team-mates lift the Super League title earlier this month.
“There were a lot more downs than ups,” he said.
“It’s not been good. There have been some tough times and I’ve not handled it the best at times, not knowing what to do with myself. But this is a light at the end of the tunnel situation along with England Knights. After an awful year it has put a smile back on my face and I am enjoying my rugby again.
“I was gutted not to play at Old Trafford. But the lads are still my best mates and I couldn’t be any happier for them winning it. We’re one squad, and regardless of what has gone on all year, if there’s one group who deserves to win a Grand Final, then it’s them. I was buzzing for them, and we had a cracking night, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
“Other clubs showed interest in me, but this is a completely fresh start. I am looking forward to it. I feel like I’m a good talker who can steer the ship and if I can do that then hopefully I’ll be bringing the best out of the team at the same time. I feel I will grow as a person and it will be the making of me as a player.”