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James Saltonstall hopes his World Cup experience opens a path into Warrington Wolves' first team
JAMES Saltonstall wants the World Cup to be a springboard to first-team duty with Warrington Wolves next season.
He is yet to make his top-flight debut in primrose and blue but spent time on the left wing for Italy, successfully marking England’s Super League try kings Ryan Hall and Josh Charnley in Saturday’s friendly.
Now he is preparing for the biggest game of his career so far, the Azurri’s World Cup opener against joint host nation Wales in front of a 50,000-plus crowd under the Millennium Stadium roof after the dust has settled on the England versus Australia battle.
Nothing seems to phase the 20-year-old former England Academy international though, who is not overawed by the magnitude of the event and is making the most of the experience of being in camp with NRL talent.
“It’s been good to be around the boys and be training with men who have played at the highest level,” said Saltonstall, who has just completed 12 months of a four-year contract with Wolves.
“It’s good that I get this chance and hopefully get to show people what I can do.
“I want to test myself against the best players in the world and hopefully stand up, perhaps putting me in the first-team frame with Warrington moving forward.
“I did get into the 19-man squad during the year and it would have been good to get a start but it didn’t happen so I’ll just keep building.
“I’ll aim to have a good pre-season and kick on from there.”
Saltonstall was man of the match at full back in Italy’s big win against Germany in the summer but it was no surprise that he failed to hold on to the spot.
Sydney Roosters’ Grand Final winning full back Anthony Minichiello, the Italian captain, got the nod.
Saltonstall, who has an Italian grandmother, said: “With Mini playing I never had a chance, did I?
“I just want to try and keep a spot in the side for the rest of the games.
“I’ve played centre, wing and full back at Warrington, so I’ve got a bit of utility and hopefully that will put me in good stead.”
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