Mark Percival, who only played 17 matches for St Helens in the 2022 season due to injury, is keeping his fingers firmly crossed that he will be fully fit to claim his place in the England World Cup squad,
The 28-year-old centre, who returned to the St Helens line-up for the semi-final and final of Super League’s showpiece of the season, is hoping to get the green light from a knee specialist to join Shane Wane’s final party.
Percival said: “It’s important to me because obviously I’ve been in the squad over the last few years but never really played under Wayne Bennett.
“For whatever reason he didn’t want to select me, but I’m still striving to play for England, especially when the coach is interested in playing me.
“I’ve spoken to Waney and I want to get out there and play.”
Percival, who made his international debut against France in 2016, was out for four months with bone fluid on his knee until making his comeback.
He was a tryscorer in Saints’ 24-12 win over Leeds in Saturday’s Grand Final at Old Trafford but admits his injury woes are not quite in the past.
“I played the first 15 thinking I was going to get through the year quite well,” Percival said.
“It’s a weird injury really and heals itself over time. It was something the specialist wouldn’t allow me to play with until it was gone, otherwise it would end up ruining my career.
“It was bad so it was advice I had to take. It’s still there but it’s getting better and I knew I had it in me with two games to come back in.
“The plan is to have some more scans to see how it’s progressing. I know I got through the games and I might look OK but I’ve had anti-inflammatory tablets and a couple of painkillers leading into the games to help me get through them.
“I’ve got to reassess now and see where I go.
“I feel ready to go and I’m looking forward to playing for England, I just need to speak to the specialist. If he gives me the all-clear I’m 100 per cent committed to England.”
Wane is due to reveal his 24-man squad on Friday but is unlikely to select any of the Grand Finalists for the warm-up match against Fiji at Salford on October 7.