TEENAGE WAKEFIELD Trinity forward James Batchelor is catching his breath after a whirlwind week.
The 18-year-old played for England academy in a Test against Australia nine days ago, arrived back in this country last Tuesday and made his Trinity debut against Warrington Wolves on Sunday.
After Batchelor came off the bench and won the club’s official man of the match award, coach Chris Chester predicted he is set to become “one hell of a player”.
Batchelor justified Chester’s decision to throw him in at the deep end, against the Challenge Cup finalists, with an eye-catching performance and revealed playing for the club he supports was a dream come true.
“He [Chester] spoke to me on Wednesday and said there was a chance of me playing,” Batchelor said of his big week.
“On Thursday he spoke to me at training and said I was going to be playing, so I knew then.
“It is brilliant, it is my hometown club and the team I followed, so it was a proud day for me.
“I thought about it a bit when I was on the bench, but you don’t have time to think about it when you’re on the pitch.
“You are just trying to get some energy and do the best you can.”
Batchelor described his performance as: “not bad for a debut.”
But he insisted: “There’s still a lot of things I can work on and get better at.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d get a game this year.
“I knew with the injuries I had a chance, but I wasn’t sure until I spoke to Chezzy after I got back from Australia.”
Batchelor was the fourth teenager to graduate from the academy to Wakefield’s first team in three league games, following Brad Moules, Judah Mazive and Frazer Morris.
Mazive was part of the England academy squad, but had to return home early following the death of his father.
Of the tour, Batchelor said: “We were disappointed to lose the two Tests, but it was a great experience and I loved it.
“It was a great bunch of lads and I was very proud to be a part of it.
“Any chance to represent your country you have to take it – and give it everything you can.”
The back-rower has a three-year full-time contract and is now concentrating on his club career.
“I will take it as it comes,” he said. “I’ll work hard this week and try and get in the team for Sunday. We have got a lot of young talent at Wakefield and a lot of kids coming through the academy, so there’s a very bright future.”