Tomkins desperate for England role

PA Sport
Sam Tomkins is eager to come back from injury in time to play for England this month

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Sam Tomkins is eager to come back from injury in time to play for England this month

Man of Steel Sam Tomkins is determined to shake off a knee injury to play in England's autumn internationals.

The Wigan full-back missed his side's Super League play-off semi-final against Leeds last Friday after hurting his knee in the Warriors' opening tie against Catalan Dragons, but he has been included in England coach Steve McNamara's 24-man squad.

"In our sport you don't get to represent your country that many times so you can't afford to miss opportunities like this," he said. "We're building as an international side. We've got a World Cup next year that we want to win and we've got to have the best preparation possible."

McNamara will take his players to South Africa next week for a 10-day high-altitude training camp ahead of the matches against Wales and France as part of his build-up to the 2013 World Cup.

St Helens hooker James Roby, who lost out to Tomkins in the voting for Man of Steel, is being rested after an arduous season but the Wigan man said he was never likely to follow suit.

"That was never a temptation," Tomkins said. "I'm proud to play for my country and I'll jump at any opportunity."

Wigan's Michael McIlorum is Roby's obvious replacement but he still has one game left to serve of a three-match ban so McNamara is likely to use Leeds' Rob Burrow in the hooking role against Wales.

"I want to see how he, along with the other young players, adapts to the rigours of international competition," explained McNamara.

"It will be great for their development to be training and playing alongside the likes of Sam Burgess and Kevin Sinfield."

England's 24-man squad: C Ablett (Leeds), R Atkins (Warrington), T Briscoe (Hull), S Burgess (South Sydney), R Burrow (Leeds), J Charnley (Wigan), R Chase (Castleford), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), J Graham (Canterbury), R Hall (Leeds), Z Hardaker (Leeds), C Hill (Warrington), G Hock (Wigan), J Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), M McIlorum (Wigan), A Morley (Warrington), L Mossop (Wigan), R Myler (Warrington), S O'Loughlin (Wigan), K Sinfield (Leeds), S Tomkins (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), B Westwood (Warrington).

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