Cockayne determined to stake late claim for England bow in World Cup

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It might be an unlikely alliance but robust Wakefield Trinity Wildcats winger Ben Cockayne sees no reason why he cannot force his way into England’s World Cup squad.

He will be 30 by the time the tournament comes around, which would be late for an international bow, and, of course, he has had a chequered past, including being sacked by Hull KR two years ago.

Yet Cockayne believes he is playing the best football of his career and it is hard to argue with him.

He is the joint leading try-scorer in Super League with six already from the opening four games and has made more metres than anyone else in the competition.

Put that alongside his usual high work-rate and defensive doggedness and you have a wideman of some repute.

England may be well served for wingers with the likes of Ryan Hall, Tom Briscoe and Josh Charnley fighting it out while Huddersfield’s Jermaine McGillvary did his chances no harm with a hat-trick against Wakefield on Sunday.

But Cockayne admitted: “It is something that’s actually on my mind now. I do feel as though I am performing the best I have ever played at this level.

“I’d like to think I’ll be in with a shout. Whether it comes or not, that’s a different thing as there’s Briscoe, Charnley and Hall.

“I have got a lot to contend with, but if Steve McNamara (England coach) is wanting something different I think I can offer him that.”

He hopes to continue his rich form when Richard Agar’s side feature at Perpignan tomorrow.

“I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in terms of playing,” he added.

“My life away from rugby is as good as it can be and that probably all contributes.

“I’ve made changes away from the field and that is reaping rewards on it as well.

“I thought at the back end of last year I was playing good and I’ve brought that into this season.

“I’m probably my worst critic, which is the way to be if you want to improve; the best thing to do is be harsh on yourself.

“That’s what I do and that’s why I am making some good improvements plus Rich (Agar) brings the best out of me.”