Zak Hardaker hurt by England omission as Super League transfer nears
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/10/16 10:50am
Zak Hardaker is hurting over his England omission as he nears a switch of Super League clubs.
The 2015 Man of Steel was full-back throughout England's Test series triumph over New Zealand last autumn but was left out of the 24-man squad chosen by new head coach Wayne Bennett for the 2016 Ladbrokes Four Nations Series.
The 25-year-old is now setting his sights on regaining his place for the 2017 World Cup and is certain of doing that with a new Super League club, having played his last match for Leeds.
Hardaker, who was transfer listed by the Rhinos at an asking price of £300,000 in June, spent the last three months of the season on loan to Penrith Panthers, having been granted his wish to try his luck in the NRL, but has now decided his immediate future lies back in Super League.
"He ticked the box," said Hardaker's agent Craig Harrison. "He enjoyed it and he got a good report from (football director) Gus Gould but they're capped up for next year.
"They've said they'd be interested for the year after but he wants to play here now. I think it hurt him not getting in the England squad and if he stays here he thinks he's a chance of getting in the World Cup squad for next year.
"He went well with Penrith but a lot of it went unnoticed over here."
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington says there has been "lots of interest" but he has yet to receive a firm offer for Hardaker.
The former Featherstone player had been in talks with Hull KR but that move fell through when the club were relegated from Super League and now it appears Castleford, Huddersfield and Salford are vying for his signature.
"There's two or three clubs in for him but there's still some work to do before they can get a deal to Gary," said Harrison.