Award winning half-back Luke Gale has praised the Castleford Tigers coaching staff for the part they have played in his rise to the England squad for this autumn’s internationals.
Gale is hoping to make his senior England debut this Saturday when they take on France at Leigh Sports Village (2pm) ahead of the three-game Test series against New Zealand, which starts at the KC Stadium, Hull on Sunday November 1 (5pm).
With 27 try assists and more than 200 points for the Tigers this year, Gale earned his call-up and reckons he has played the best rugby of his career in his first year with Cas.
“I do feel I’m in my best form yet. I went out to London and served my apprenticeship so to speak and matured as a player.
“Daryl Powell has helped me a lot this year and helped me improve in all different aspects.
“He has brought a bit of patience to my game and a lot of different plays, opening my eyes to different ways to play the game.
“He has been real good and has some great staff behind him with Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan.
“I went from the bottom team, Bradford last year, and I have gone to Castleford and the season has gone fantastically so I am real pleased.
“We have worked hard this year with Castleford and I am made up to be selected in the squad.”
Gale acknowledges he still faces strong competition from within the England squad to establish himself as the number one half-back with Wigan Warriors duo Matty Smith and Super League Young Player of the Year George Williams and St George-Illawarra player Gareth Widdop also selected.
He said: “There’s definitely a lot of competition and we have a few half-back combinations.
“George Williams is a young lad who seems like he is going to be a great talent. He is a real running threat.
“We all bring something a bit different but I will just work hard in training and see what squad Steve rolls with.”
Gale is hoping he can be part of a team that puts the smile back on the face of England rugby fans after the union team failed miserably in the Rugby Union World Cup.
He added: “We are playing the number one ranked team in the world and the boys are looking forward to it.
“There is a great stage down in London. It is a massive opportunity and the boys want to excel on that stage and hopefully we can be beat the New Zealanders
“After the Union fail, them getting knocked out and not reaching the quarter-finals, there is a stage for an England team to be successful and hopefully that can be us.
“Obviously having made the squad you want to pull the jersey on now and set a good platform so hopefully I can play (against France) and enjoy myself.”