Kevin Sinfield: I want to carry on playing for England

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Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield is keen to carry on his England career.

Sinfield skippered England during last year’s World Cup campaign, which ended in semi-final agony at Wembley when they lost to a last-minute New Zealand try.

Speaking for the first time since November’s disappointment, Sinfield revealed he has never considered international retirement, despite speculation in some sections of the media.

“I never intimated that at any stage,” he stressed. “From where I stand at the minute I will certainly be putting my hand up again.

“If Steve [McNamara, England’s coach] wants to go with me and I am playing well enough, I will certainly put my hand up.”

Sinfield admitted England’s exit was “tough”, but insisted the Rhinos players involved in the World Cup will be stronger for it.

“You have got to move on to the next challenge,” he said. “It is difficult, but in any walk of life you are going to face adversity and do it tough at certain stages.

“You have to come through that and show what you’re made of. I think all the England boys can hold their head up high and be proud of what they achieved in the World Cup, but I think we’ll all be looking forward to getting back on the pitch and trying to erase that memory.”

Sinfield’s first game since the World Cup will come on Friday night, when Rhinos are at home to London Broncos in Ryan Bailey’s testimonial game.

“I am looking forward to it,”Sinfield said. “We’ve been back just over three weeks and the guys who’ve been in a long time have been training great and doing some really good things.

“It’s really nice to be back in and I’m looking forward to playing again. I think the squad is really healthy and ready for a game.”

Leeds failed to reach either major final last year, for the first time since 2006, but Sinfield denied that is extra motivation.

“I think we are motivated no matter what to win trophies,” he stated. “The group are hungry - having been in a few weeks you can sense it and see it every day.

“I know how hungry I am myself and I am looking forward to the start.

“We are not that far away now and hopefully we can hit the ground running and really hit our straps early doors.”

Sinfield feels Leeds have more competition for places in the squad this term.

“Paul Aiton will add a great deal to us,” he said. “Tom Briscoe will as well - and Andy Yates, when he gets back from injury.

“The young boys we’ve got did fantastic last year and the squad’s really healthy. We are looking forward to it.

“Competition for places is building nicely and I think - more so than ever - if you don’t play well somebody will take your shirt off you, so that’s the good thing about where we’re at at the minute.”

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