STEFAN Ratchford has made a startling revelation while being on track to be fit for his Testimonial game at the start of the new Warrington Wolves season.

Proving once again why rugby league players are among the toughest athletes in the world, The Wire and England full-back has confirmed he fractured his wrist midway into the 2021 campaign but played on for FOUR months before having surgery.

“The wrist isn’t too bad. It’s frustrating and even worse that it’s my right arm but it’s feeling better,” he said.

“We’re just over four weeks now post-op. There’s a couple of weeks left in the cast and hopefully I can then start cracking on.

“From the day of starting back to the day I get my cast off, it’s two weeks.

“So I’ll miss the first couple of weeks of skills in pre-season and that sort of stuff, but I’m hoping as soon as the cast comes off I’ll be looking to get involved as soon as possible and as soon as the physio says it’s ok.”

There is nowhere to hide with an injury on a rugby league field but Ratchford even ended the season with a couple of spells at hooker, where the additional contact in defence would have tested his damaged wrist to the maximum.

He added: “I actually fractured my wrist at the beginning of June and just left it, hoping it would be alright. Obviously it turned out it wouldn’t be and we needed to get it fixed.

“One of the reasons we got it done when we had it done, was so everything would be up and ready for the start of the new year.

“Hopefully with the cast coming off in a couple of weeks that should give me a decent run up to building back into contact and being fully fit for my Testimonial game.”

Ratchford’s Testimonial game, yet to be announced, is expected to be late January/early February and will be a warm-up fixture for the first season under new head coach Daryl Powell.

With the Testimonial campaign, an exciting first year ahead for the club under Powell and the delayed Rugby League World Cup in just under 12 months' time, it is important for established England international Ratchford that his preparations go well from here on.

"It's a really exciting year ahead with lots going on," said the former Salford Red Devils man, who earlier this year joined fellow England internationals including clubmate Ben Currie in doing a bit of DIY to help with a makeover at the Hindley Amateur Rugby League Club in his home town of Wigan.

"It's almost like a new era here at Warrington with a lot of turnover in players, all new coaching staff, some real long-serving members have gone.

"With the Testimonial stuff and hopefully a World Cup to look forward to at the end of next year, it's a really exciting year on and off the field."

And the aim will be for Ratchford, who turns 34 in July, to be a part of Shaun Wane's England squad for the World Cup on home soil.

"You never say never to England," he said.

"There's a lot of competition for places and strength in depth in every position so it's an exciting year for us at club level first off.

"We're excited what the year ahead may bring for us and what we've got to look forward to with Daryl coming in and all the new players.

"And hopefully we perform like we should under Daryl then it's going to give us the best chance to be involved in a World Cup at the end of the year."