Rugby League World Cup: Gareth Widdop targets England start
Last Updated: 10/10/13 4:01pm
Gareth Widdop: Melbourne star pushing for World Cup start
Gareth Widdop is hoping to play his way into England's World Cup starting line-up after overcoming a serious injury to make Steve McNamara's 24-man squad for the tournament.
The Melbourne Storm stand-off looked likely to be out for the season when he suffered a dislocated hip in late June but he made a remarkable recovery and was back to fitness in time for the NRL play-offs in September.
Halifax-born Widdop is now training with the England squad at their high-altitude camp in South Africa and he will get the chance to improve his match fitness by playing in England's friendly against Italy at Salford on Saturday week.
"I've been selected in the 24-man squad and it's up to the coaches who makes that final 17 but I'll be doing everything I can to be in it."
But he knows it will be no straight-forward task to force his way into the line-up for the World Cup opener against Australia on October 26 after Kevin Sinfield and Rangi Chase were the preferred half-back pair during the 2011 Four Nations Series.
"I've been selected in the 24-man squad and it's up to the coaches who makes that final 17 but I'll be doing everything I can to be in it," he said.
"It was good to be part of the team (in 2011) but, as a half, it was obviously disappointing that I didn't get on the field as much as I would have liked. But the coaches went that way.
"All I can do is keep pushing for that starting position.
"We've a few halves in the team, with Robbie Burrow, Rangi and Kev so it will be interesting to see which way they go."