LUTHER Burrell could have been a Warrington Wolves player several years ago – now he aims to be a trailblazer for cross-code players.

The Wire confirmed the signing of the England rugby union international on a two-and-a-half-year deal on Tuesday.

Burrell confirmed there was a contract offer on the table for him to remain in the 15-man code with Northampton Saints, but he says a desire to step out of his comfort zone drew him to The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

He also hopes making a success of the move to Super League will entice other high-profile union stars to switch codes.

Warrington Guardian:

Luther Burrell scores a try for Northampton Saints against Newcastle Falcons. Picture by Roberto Payne/Northampton Saints

“We’ve seen the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Jason Robinson become dual-code stars and I really wanted to give it a go,” the 31-year-old told the Guardian.

“It definitely would have been easier to remain in my comfort zone in union – 100 per cent.

“I had a contract offer on the table to extend with Northampton, but I love a challenge. I want to test myself against the best.

“I met (head coach) Steve Price a couple of months back and things went from there.

“I’d actually met (club owner) Simon Moran a couple of years ago and I stressed the idea of me potentially coming to league back then.

“At that time, I was in a deep contract with Northampton so it wasn’t really the right time.

“Once the opportunity came back around, I had to really snap at it.

“Warrington is a great club and Super League is such a passion of mine.

“I’ve always watched it and I’ve got mates that have played in it throughout their careers.

“I just think it will be awesome to test myself in it, give it a go and see how far I get with it.

“I can’t put into the words the support I’ve had from union players about this.

“The likes of Danny Care – who I’ve known for years from my time at Leeds – and Danny Cipriani have reached out.

“They are both big names in union and they’ve said how jealous they are about me doing this.

“It’s only going to entice other players to follow me, I think.

“If I can have a really good crack at it, make a success of it and enjoy myself I’m sure it will open the door for more players to come over.”

Warrington Guardian:

Burrell in training with Northampton. Picture by Roberto Payne/Northampton Saints

Yorkshireman Burrell played junior rugby league for Wakefield outfit Crigglestone and the Huddersfield Giants age group teams.

He combined that with playing union for Huddersfield RUFC and it was from there that Leeds Carnegie came calling.

Still, he is under no illusions about the work he has to do to get up to speed when he joins up with his Wire teammates on July 1.

“We use elements of league in our conditioning work,” he said.

“Because it’s so high-paced, when we want to play at a high tempo we use rugby league as a form of high-intensity skill work.

“I’d like to think it would be an easy transition, but I’m not shy to the fact I’m going to have to work hard and learn the game.

“Our games will stop in May, but obviously I won’t be able to be part of Warrington properly until July.

“I’ll use that down time to get some learning in. I’ll get in front of a computer and see what I can do to learn about the game.

"I predominantly played league as a junior. I think I’ve stolen a career in union to be honest!

"I was part of what was Fartown Giants at the time in their age group teams. I’d play for them on a Saturday and union on a Sunday.

"I grew out of that team and I went to play for Crigglestone in Wakefield when I was around 14 or 15 and I loved it.

"I was still playing union in Huddersfield on a Sunday and the Leeds youth development scheme were around at the time and they liked the look of me.

"They invited me along to a couple of training sessions, I got offered a professional contract and I didn’t really look back.

"While I was at Leeds, I was always around the Rhinos and I always fancied it but I wasn’t able to do it and my career led me down the rugby union path."

Warrington Guardian:

While operating mainly as a centre in union, Burrell has been earmarked for several league positions by Price, who believes he could cover in the three-quarters and the second row.

When asked about where he feels he would be best suited, Burrell was keen to keep an open mind.

"I need to make sure my teammates are on board and gain that trust," he said.

"There’s been some talk of me potentially playing in the centres and moving into the back row once I’m fully adjusted to the sport.

"For me, I just want to get up there, get stuck in and see where I fit.

"I’m sure Pricey will have an idea about where he sees me fitting in. Wherever that is, I’ll work hard with it and take it from there."

Burrell knows what it takes to end a season with silverware having won a Premiership title with Northampton in 2014.

He says being able to say he has won league titles in both codes is a big motivation for him.

"I’ve been fortunate enough to win a few things in union but I’ve not tasted that feeling for a while now," he said.

"Trophies are a big motivation for me. I love winning and I want to be part of a winning team. "We’ve got a couple of competitions alive with Northampton at the moment.

"Imagine potentially winning something before I leave and then coming in to help Warrington win Super League – how good would that be?"