Castleford Tigers’ in-form centre Michael Shenton always hoped he would win an England recall after being selected in coach Steve McNamara's 34-strong training squad.
The 27-year-old won all his previous nine England caps as a Castleford player and says he never gave up on the prospect of returning to the international fold.
Shenton had a three-year spell with St Helens and while he featured in the 2011 Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos, he was unable to add to his international honours during his time at Saints.
This season Daryl Powell’s Tigers are a force to be reckoned with and Shenton has been one of their star performers, culminating in a call from national boss McNamara.
“I always thought I was young enough to get back in,” he said. “Coming back here was a reason for that; to become an important player in a team again. When Ian Millward brought me back, that was one of the goals I set myself.
"If I never got back in then nobody could take away the fact I played for England. The recognition is nice and it's great for Castleford to have three players in the squad. It's recognition of where we're at as a club and how well we're playing."
Shenton’s last England appearance was against the Kiwis in the 2010 Four Nations Series and he is facing some tough competition ahead of the trip to Australia and New Zealand in October.
In addition to Kallum Watkins (Leeds) and Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), who were England's first-choice centres at the World Cup, the impressive form of Chris Bridge (Warrington) and Dan Sarginson (Wigan) has caught the eye of McNamara and, of course, Brisbane-based Jack Reed is sure to come into contention for the Four Nations after being injured at the end of last season.
"Going on tour is massive," Shenton continued. "It's a special occasion that doesn't happen many times in a player's career. However there's quite a way to go in the season yet and form can dip and rise, so I've got to keep on top of my game.
"You're up against a lot of competition in the centres and that's motivation in itself to play well and improve.
"I'm happy with the recall obviously It doesn't mean too much at the minute but going forward it means I'm in Steve Mac's eyes, which is pleasing and a bit more motivation to finish the season as I started it."