France v England: Why Hull KR’s England newby Jordan Abdull is indebted to Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire

AS HE prepares for a potential England debut, Jordan Abdull says a lot of his progress this year has been down to the “brain” of Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire.

After an excellent campaign, which saw him shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel, Hull KR stand-off Abdull is expected to feature for Shaun Wane’s side against France in Perpignan on Saturday.

He was named in the 20-man squad at the weekend and is the only recognised half-back along with St Helens’ Jonny Lomax.

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It would certainly be a well-earned first cap for the 25-year-old Yorkshireman whose brilliant kicking game and creativity helped fire the Robins to within 80 minutes of Old Trafford this term.

And Abdull says McGuire, the ex-Leeds and Great Britain half-back who has been assistant coach at Hull College Craven Park this year, has been pivotal in his development.

“Maggsy’s always giving me tips,” he said.

“He’s the most decorated half-back in the Super League era so any bit of knowledge I can get from him is good and it’s going to improve me as a player.

“I haven’t spoken to him this week but all through the season every week, building into games, he’d be telling me little tips on what to look for in opposition teams.

Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull reckons advice from Leeds Rhinos legend Danny McGuire helped improve his game enough this year to earn his England call-up. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com.

“It’d be things that I don’t necessarily see myself but I think he can claim a lot of assistance this year for some of the things I’ve been able to do on the field.

“Most of the time it’s been him in my ear during the week telling me to look out for that.

“A lot of my good form this year has come down to his knowledge and his brain, I suppose.”

Abdull also praised KR head coach Tony Smith - boss at Headingley for two of McGuire’s eight Grand Final wins as a player - for instilling “confidence” to be able to express himself fully and freely with the Robins.

Former Leeds Rhinos Super League star Danny McGuire has played a key role in developing England half-back Jordan Abdull's game at Hull KR this year. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

He now hopes to transfer that onto the international stage with England.

But the ex-Hull FC and London Broncos half-back conceded: “Initially it was just shock when I heard I was in.

“As silly as it sounds. I really didn’t expect it.

“I was obviously over the moon with the way I played with KR this year but not for one minute did I think I’d get the opportunity to represent my country. It wasn’t something in my plans for this year; I was just focused on trying to find a little bit of consistency in my game and do as well as I could for my club.

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith and assistant Danny McGuire. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

“But things come together and the more consistent you play, these opportunities do come. I’ll definitely try and take that opportunity now it’s here.”

With Leeds scrum-half Luke Gale and Warrington Wolves star George Williams both out injured, Hull-born Abdull knows he has the chance to put his best foot forward for the World Cup next year.

“I’d be a fool to just be happy to play just one game,” added the player, who was due to fly out to Menorca for a family holiday but sent his mother-in-law instead.

“Now I’ve had a little taste for what the England set-up is like, I want to be in there as many times as I can.

“I’d like to think it’s all in my own court at the minute; how I apply myself in the game against France, if I get selected, and then play as well as I can for KR and see what happens at the end of next year.

“It’s an exciting time.”