Lyne and Johnstone merit call-ups says Chester

WAKEFIELD Trinity coach Chris Chester knows Reece Lyne might not be a terrace favourite but insists no one can argue with his England Knights call-up.

The ex-Hull FC centre was the club’s sole inclusion in the 25-man squad named by Paul Anderson earlier this week.

Obviously, plenty of attention headed Tom Johnstone’s way, the prolific young Trinity winger who deservedly earned his first inclusion in the senior England elite performance squad after battling back from last year’s knee reconstruction.

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However, Lyne’s progress has been a little different.

Since joining from Hull at the end of 2012, he has not always had the easiest of times either and initially struggled to make his mark at Belle Vue.

Over the last couple of seasons, though, he has made giant strides and Chester said: “This is great recognition for Reece.

“I wouldn’t say he’s a fans’ favourite but he’s certainly changed some fans’ perception of him over the last couple of seasons.

“He’s been great for us, certainly for me since I came here (in 2016). I like how he carries the ball but his big improvement is defence and he’s definitely now one of the best centres in the competition.”

Chester praised the strapping centre for the way he has dealt with past criticism and said: “He’s in a position there where if you make a mistake or miss a tackle you look silly. Centre is a tough position to play but he’s grown into that spot and made it his own. Reece is still young, too.

“He’s only 25 but seems to have been around forever.

“What’s good for him is that he’s got Joe Arundel and Bill Tupou breathing down his neck and that competition has brought the best out of him.

“It’s the same for Tom. This England call is great recognition for him as well and the club. We know what a special talent he is and he just keeps improving. He’s got through the other side after some dark times with that knee injury and deserves this chance.

“But the competition of Ben Jones-Bishop and Mason Caton-Brown brings the best out of him.”

Chester – who feels second-row Matty Ashurst was unlucky not to get a Knights call – rested the pair for Sunday’s win against Huddersfield Giants but they are available for this Sunday’s game at Wigan Warriors.