ENGLAND WING ace Jermaine McGillvary has welcomed competition for his place from Wakefield Trinity’s Tom Johnstone.
McGillvary, of Huddersfield Giants, has scored 12 tries in 13 appearances for England and is set to take one of the wing spots in Saturday’s first Test against New Zealand at Hull.
With Leeds Rhinos’ Ryan Hall unavailable through injury, St Helens’ Tommy Makinson is expected to get the nod on the other flank.
Makinson was not risked for last Wednesday’s Test against France in Leigh so Johnstone came in for his England debut and captured the headlines with a 13-minute hat-trick in a 44-6 romp.
Coach Wayne Bennett has already indicated Johnstone will have to wait for his next crack at international rugby, but McGillvary reckons the Trinity man is putting pressure on other players in his position.
“I said to him, the reason he is here is because of what he’s doing in Super League,” McGillvary said.
“He continued that [in last week’s game] and Wayne has got a massive headache.
“There’s me, Tom Johnstone and Tommy Makinson. It’s good.
“That’s what we want in the England team; we want competition for places.
“We only want the best out there to get us a win so Wayne has got a tough decision.
“We’re all doing well and working hard in training so it will be interesting to see what he goes with.”
McGillvary played outside another Wakefield man making his England debut, centre Reece Lyne, in the Test against France.
Lyne was a surprise inclusion in the full squad after initially being in the England Knights performance group, but McGillvary said: “He didn’t look at out of place at all.”
He reflected: “He got frustrated at times, but I told him ‘listen it’s not Super League, bide your time. It’s not always open. You won’t always get time and space, but keep working hard.’
“I thought he did really well. It’s something to build on for him. It’s not Super League where he gets all those chances, flicking the ball out and skirting across field.
“It’s very hard to get that at this level, but he needs a pat on the back.”