Leeds Rhinos' Richie Myler backs teammate Jack Walker to make full recovery from huge injury setback
Injured star Jack Walker will make a full recovery from his latest setback, his Leeds Rhinos teammate Richie Myler reckons.
Myler stepped in at full-back after Walker suffered a fractured foot 13 months ago.
The 21-year-old also had surgery on a shoulder in the off-season, but was expected to resume his role as Leeds’ last line of defence this year, before suffering a recurrence of his foot problem.
With Walker expected to miss the whole campaign, Myler is his most likely long-term replacement, particularly if Rhinos’ half-back injury crisis clears up.
“I feel for Jack,” Myler said.
“I have not escaped injuries in my career, I have had a fair few myself, so I know where he’s at at the moment.
“It is a tough one for any young player, having injuries.
“I suppose the only saving grace is he is at a really good club that’ll stand by him - and he is young.”
Myler stressed: “He has got many years ahead of him, hopefully, if he gets himself back into the right shape, which I am sure he will.
“He is going to have the best tools and the best environment to do that.
“He is fortunate in some sense that he’s at a club like Leeds that can provide that kind of thing for him.
“We have got a pretty good group here and we are very close-knit.
“We have gathered around him and I am sure he’ll be back on the field as soon as possible.”
Stand-off Rob Lui (quad muscle) will also miss the start of the season and fellow play-makers Luke Gale (pectoral muscle) and Callum McLelland (ankle) are both recovering from surgery.
But Rhinos have added to their options by signing Kyle Eastmond, who starred for St Helens before switching to rugby union a decade ago and Myler believes that was a smart move.
“Kyle is only a year older than me so we played junior rugby against each other and I played for England with him,” Myler said of his new teammate.
“He is a very talented rugby player. You can see his skill set, he’s only been in with us a couple of days, but you can see he is naturally a very talented player.
“That is going to be great for our squad. It is going to be great to see his threat and having his attributes back in rugby league is a bonus for everybody.
“It’s certainly a bonus for our team because he is obviously a threat.”
Rhinos will be back on the field on Sunday, for the first time since their play-offs loss to Catalans Dragons four months ago, when they visit Huddersfield Giants for their only pre-season game.
“You can only do a certain amount of stuff in training,” Myler said.
“You need to actually go against somebody that doesn’t know your plays and doesn’t know exactly how you are going to run and you don’t know their plays.
“It will be a good hit out and good to get some k’s in the legs because round one is coming around fast now.
“We are ready to play a game, we’ve done enough training and left versus right and 13 on 13.
“It’s about time, every team will be chomping at the bit to get playing.”
Meanwhile, Myler played for England in their most recent Test, at the end of 2018, but insisted he hasn’t thought about a call up for this year’s World Cup.
He said: “Obviously I would love to play in the World Cup, but I think those things take care of themselves.
“It’s just one of those things, if it happens, it happens - if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“It is out of my control, all I can do is focus on being the best version of me and putting my best foot forward.
“My ultimate focus is Leeds at the moment and what will be, will be.”
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