Saints star Alex Walmsley believes a first pre-season in years can help him discover international form.
Walmsley will report back to training at St Helens next week, with the upcoming pre-season the first time he will be able to start pre-season without undergoing rehabilitation since 2013.
Hip surgery following the 2014 season was followed by three procedures after an outstanding 2015 campaign.
Walmsley faced a race against time to be fit for 2016 after shoulder and ankle surgery, and although he was fit to feature at the start of the season, he believes it had an effect on his performances.
But with no serious injuries this year, the 26-year-old, who was speaking to League Express for a big interview in the new paper, has been able to go on holiday to Florida and Barbados in the off-season.
With no rehabilitation programmes on the agenda, Walmsley believes it could hold the key to a return to his optimum level of performance.
“It’s been the longest three years of my life because I’ve not had a rest. The minute that last game finishes I’ve been under the knife.
“Last year in particular with the very little training I had before the season really took it out of me, and I think that was clear to see with how I went throughout the year. I didn’t get that training I needed, and to miss two pre-seasons on the bounce really caught up with me.
“But I’m ready to go and I really can’t wait for pre-season. Most players wouldn’t say that, but I’m genuinely excited to get going and be firing by the time the season starts.”
Walmsley was speaking to League Express for an extensive interview in the new edition of the paper. Read the interview right now by purchasing the paper in stores or online at totalrl.com/le