CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ Adam Milner insists he has no intention of being a passenger in the England camp.
Milner made his Test debut in last week’s win over France, but has England captain Sean O’Loughlin, the 2018 Betfred Super League Dream Team loose-forward, ahead of him in the pecking order for the three-match series against New Zealand which begins in Hull on Saturday.
O’Loughlin will be one of the first names on coach Wayne Bennett’s teamsheet, but Milner – who has not been included in the squad for Saturday – has stressed he will be doing everything possible to force himself into the side over the next three weeks.
“I’m not just in the squad to make up the numbers,” the 26-year-old Tigers forward declared.
“I am wanting to push for the 17. I have just got to keep doing my best and hopefully [last week’s] game has got my foot in the door.
“Obviously we’ve got the Wigan and Warrington players coming into the squad now, but I have just got to keep training well and keep impressing Wayne.”
Versatility is one of the weapons in Milner’s armoury.
A former Stanley Rangers junior, he made his Tigers debut in 2010 as a hooker and only switched to loose-forward two years ago.
He has made rapid progress since and is now an established No 13, but had spells in both roles during last week’s game and the fact he can play more than one position could influence Bennett’s selection.
He said: “We’ve got Clarky [Warrington’s Daryl Clark] available this week, who has had a fantastic season at nine.
“I just slotted in there [against France] to give Josh [Hodgson] a bit of a rest.
“Obviously he hadn’t played in a few weeks, but I will play anywhere for England whether it’s nine or 13 or wherever they want me. I will put my hand up and do it.”
Whatever happens over the next three weekends Milner reckons being part of the England squad will benefit him when he returns to Castleford in pre-season.
“It has been a good experience just to be around the boys and be in camp with them,” he said.
“Also, being under Wayne. He is such an experienced coach, he teaches you about different things and learning off the likes of James Graham as well, who is a world class front-rower, every day with England is a bonus.”
Milner’s change of position from hooker to loose-forward was made with an international call-up in mind and he was rewarded when introduced into the action midway through the first half of last week’s game at Leigh.
England cruised to a 44-6 victory, after leading 38-0 at half-time and Milner reflected: “It was a really good experience.
“Getting my first cap was enjoyable, I was a bit nervous coming off the bench, but it was one to remember.”
Milner was “pretty happy” with his performance last week.
“We had only had three sessions so it’s fresh, the way we played, but it’s simple,” he added.
“It was pretty much a straight forward game plan and very understandable and I thought I did all right.
“There was an assist with Thommo [Luke Thompson] getting over for a try and I just did my job.
“That’s what it’s about in international football, just doing your job and turning up for each other and that’s what I did.”