TOBY King feels he is ‘a step ahead’ of most rugby league players after an injury-hit two years – simply because he now ‘wants it so much more’.

After spending much of 2016 on the sidelines thanks to a serious pectoral injury, the younger King brother started 2017 in possession of one of the centre spots in the Wire team, but only made six appearances before disaster struck.

He injured a hamstring in training in April, an injury that did not heal as planned and the 21-year-old was forced to have surgery to correct it.

It meant he missed the remainder of the club season and the chance to play for Ireland in the World Cup.

King picked up another hamstring problem in the pre-season victory at Rochdale Hornets, but is expected to return very soon and the 21-year-old says there is no point looking back in anger.

“I just look at it as building character,” he said.

“Whenever I play now, it makes me more appreciative of rugby.

“I feel like I’m a step ahead of people now because I want it so much more through missing out on so many games.

“I can’t look back on it negatively.

“All I can do is take the things I’ve been through as a positive and channel it into having a big year.”

King could have joined brother George and Wolves teammate Joe Philbin in the Ireland squad for the World Cup.

However, he says he made a decision to withdraw to focus on making a full recovery ahead of what is the final year of his contract.

“It was tough to watch, but I was proud of my brother and Joe Philbin,” he said.

“With the last year of my contract coming up, it was a decision I made not to go to the World Cup.

“I don’t think it would have gone down too well with the club if I’d gone and risked getting hurt again.

“I know I need to prove to myself I made the right decision. The only way I can do that is by having a big year with Warrington.”

King faces competition from Ryan Atkins, the club’s player of the year for 2017, and New Zealand international Bryson Goodwin for a spot in his favoured centre position.

He has also featured for The Wire in the second row in the past, coming off the bench to play there in the 2016 Super League Grand Final, something he is not averse to doing again.

However, King has one simple target for 2018.

“It was a bad year last year, so I just want to stay injury-free,” he said.

“I’ve had a few chats with Steve Price and I know what he wants from me.

“I’ve got two great centres in Ryan Atkins and Bryson Goodwin to learn from.

“It’s good to have that competition, it makes you train that little bit harder.

“I didn’t mind playing in the second row. I enjoyed it!

“In a game, anyone can go down and if you can cover them, it’s only going to help the team.

“The club have backed me in every way and it’s time for me to repay them this year.”