Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker relishes chance to make England debut
Last Updated: October 25, 2012 6:19am
Zak Hardaker is hoping to avoid comparisons with Sam Tomkins ahead of his England debut against Wales on Saturday.
The 21-year-old will wear the No 1 jersey in Wrexham after recently-crowned Man of Steel Tomkins and Warrington utility back Stefan Ratchford were both ruled out.
And Hardaker, who has made a big impact at full-back after starting his career at Leeds in the centres, said: "I'm proud and privileged to be part of the England set-up. Obviously to play my first international would be terrific. It's going to be a proud moment for me and my family.
"It's things you dream of as a young kid. I've really enjoyed my time in the camp and it will be icing on the cake to play against Wales.
"Obviously with the calibre of player that Sam is, it's going to be tough.
"Every player has different attributes. It was the same with me and Brent Webb. I am a bit quicker than Webby but he made up for that with his ball skills and being a very smart player.
"That might come with age. I enjoy playing full-back. It gives me a lot more opportunities with ball in hand than playing at centre.
"I enjoy attacking and hopefully in a few years it could be my permanent position."
Hardaker's club and country captain Kevin Sinfield is predicting stardom for the Rhinos youngster.
"He's a fantastic kid who works so hard at his game and deserves everything he gets," Sinfield said.
"I think he's going to get better and better as well. I think over the next two or three years you are going to see a real star.
"Without heaping too much pressure on him, I think he's going to be one of the best players in Super League."