Warrington Wolves hooker, Danny Walker has led the rallying cry for the England Knights programme to continue, after admitting that the tour to Papua New Guinea changed his life.
Walker was part of Paul Anderson’s squad that travelled to PNG for a two-game series against the Kumuls, designed to give life experiences as well as playing ones, to the next generation of England internationals.
The trip did that and more for him personally, Walker told League Express, and he is hoping for more chances to play for the Knights in the coming years, claiming it will stand him in good stead for a crack at the senior squad for the 2021 World Cup.
“The more opportunities there are for young English players, the better,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play for England at every age level England so far, and if I can keep playing for the Knights it’ll stand me in good stead for 2021, and give me the best chance to play in the next World Cup. I think a few more of the Knights lads would say the same, so hopefully it will carry on this year and beyond.
“When I went out to PNG, that was an amazing experience. I’m glad it came around when it did, because it took me out of my comfort zone. It was more of a life experience than a playing experience and I think that has helped to make a man of me.
“We were treated like superstars out there; it was incredible.”
Walker has made an impressive start to life at his hometown club, Warrington Wolves, having joined from the Vikings during the off-season. He has appeared from the bench in both of the Wolves’ opening games, despite many sides having so far opted to go with four front-line forwards in the interchanges, due to the interchange reduction from ten to eight.
Walker, however, claims that that doesn’t concern him. “I’d never really thought about the changes. When they came in, and everyone was saying there was to be only be eight interchanges, I completely forgot!
I didn’t think it was going to impact me. I just have to back myself in training every day and so far it has gone to plan.”