WHAT we saw in Huddersfield on Saturday surprised nobody in our little corner of the world.

Once it became clear that Matty Ashton was to get his chance in an England shirt, there was almost an expectation among anyone who has watched him shine for Warrington Wolves that he would take it.

And take it he did, playing the starring role as Shaun Wane’s side secured a series victory over Tonga.

For Ashton, it is a new high for a career that has been on an upward trajectory for several years now and will surely cement him in Wane’s thoughts going forward.

While he did not get chance to show his complete skillset, Ashton’s performance at the John Smith’s Stadium was typical of the all-round winger he has become.

Not only is he an excellent finisher as his brace of tries demonstrated, but defensively his game has grown exponentially and his try-saving tackle on Tolutau Koula with the score at 6-0 was every bit as important as his contributions in attack.

From the moment he first touched the ball in a Warrington shirt in 2020, he has thrilled Wire fans with his electric pace, but he is now so much more than just a speed demon.

While he may have arrived as a full-back, a full-time switch to the wing seems to have elevated him to another level entirely, evidenced by the fact he has won the club’s player of the year award in each of the past two seasons.

As Sam Burgess will no doubt discover in the coming months, a player like Ashton is a head coach’s dream and alongside George Williams, he is the first name on the teamsheet every week for his club.

Will that be the case internationally? That, naturally, will be somewhat trickier given the embarrassment of riches Wane has on the flanks.

When fit, the freakish athleticism and ability that has marked Dom Young out as an NRL superstar means he will always feature, leaving Ashton in a battle with the likes of Tommy Makinson, Tom Johnstone and Liam Marshall among others.

For the moment, though, Ashton is the man in possession and has surely earned himself the right to stay in the side for the third Test this weekend at the very least.

A similar performance will no doubt force Wane’s hand and increase excitement among Wire fans about the levels their star winger can yet reach.