Salem deserves GB call, insists Osman

DOMINIC OSMAN believes a first call-up to the GB senior squad for Hull Pirates captain Nathan Salem is 'no more than he deserves'.

CALL-UP: Hull Pirates' Nathan Salem will line-up for his first senior international appearance in Cardiff on wednesday night. Picture: Hull Pirates.

The 25-year-old forward is scheduled to play in tonight’s second friendly international in as many days against top-tier nation Norway in Cardiff.

Last night, Peter Russell’s team took on the ‘Pool A’ nation at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre with a largely different line-up, going down 2-1.

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Following a number of late withdrawals earlier this week – including Sheffield Steelers and GB captain Jonathan Phillips – Salem has been handed his opportunity, much to the delight of his player-coach at Hull, Osman, who gave him the captaincy of the English Premier League outfit earlier this summer.

Sheffield Steeler Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“Nathan is a very talented young player and this is no more than he deserves,” said Osman, whose team have enjoyed a stellar start to the 2016-17 campaign and sit third in the standings.

Now in his second season in East Yorkshire after making the switch from EPL rivals Telford, Salem has posted seven goals and 10 assists in 14 appearances.

“This is recognition for the way that he has performed for us, the way that he leads this team by example and just the way that he seems to improve constantly,” added Osman.

Among others to be called up yesterday by Russell were former Sheffield Steelers’ defenceman Danny Meyers and Sheffield-born forward Matt Towe, now enjoying a second stint in the Elite League with Belfast Giants.

Sheffield Steeler Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Steelers’ captain Phillips was forced to withdraw from the squad on Monday evening after sustaining a lower-body injury during Saturday night’s 9-5 Challenge Cup win against Coventry Blaze, forcing him to miss the following night’s league clash against the same opponents.

“It’s not ideal to pull out, but I had to do the best thing for myself as well as the GB team,” said Phillips, who hopes to recover in time for this weekend’s double date in Scotland when the Steelers face Edinburgh and Dundee.