A TASTE of Test rugby has made Castleford Tigers ace Adam Milner hungry for more.
Milner secured his senior international debut last month when England beat France at Leigh.
He went on to feature in the final two games of the Test series against New Zealand which England won 2-1 despite a 34-0 drubbing at Elland Road two days ago.
The 26-year-old loose-forward was one of coach Wayne Bennett’s surprise picks for this autumn’s internationals, but looking back on the past month he said: “It has been awesome, being in camp with the boys has been absolutely top stuff.”
Reflecting on his time with England, he insisted: “It has given me a real taste of international football and something I’ll take into the rest of my career.
“It has given me a massive taste of the standards of international football and I’m hungry now to pull on that jersey.
“You never know when the last time will be playing for your country.
“It means a lot, it’s a special moment to pull on that jersey so I’ll be doing everything I can next year to get in this jersey again.”
Milner was a substitute in all three of his Test appearances and admitted that exceeded his expectations.
“Coming into the tournament I was hopeful of playing one game,” he said.
“Lockers [Sean O’Loughlin] unfortunately got injured in the first game [against New Zealand] and that gave me a bit of an opportunity to play, but speaking to Wayne before the first game he said whether it’s this series or the next one you will get a game.
“I am just thankful I have got my opportunity maybe a little bit early. I will take that experience into my career for the future.”
O’Loughlin is England’s undisputed first-choice loose-forward, but at 35 is nearing the end of his career, something Milner is keenly aware of.
“You don’t last forever playing rugby league,” he said. “When players get older it opens up doors for younger players like myself.
“Hopefully I can be half the player he is because he has been absolutely fantastic for both club and country. For me to get my game up there will take a lot, but I will be doing everything I can.
“I’ve not played a lot in these games, but it has given me a massive experience and a bit of a learning curve to the international stage and what to expect.
“If I get the chance again I will be in a better position than when I started and I have absolutely loved the experience and enjoyed every minute of it.
“I’ve been coming home from camp and wanting to go back into it. That’s how good the camp’s been. I am blessed I’ve been given this opportunity and really looking forward to what comes next.”
Milner now has “three or four weeks” off before beginning pre-season with Tigers and predicted his England experience will benefit him in Betfred Super League. He said: “I’d like to think so. The standard of international football is top and you have to be on top of your game for every minute. I will enjoy my break now, but I’ll be eager to get back into training and into Cas’ season next year.
“It’s Great Britain next year which is a great target for any player to go and get.”