PROUD coach Jon Sharp is backing rising Giants Super League star Michael Lawrence, left, to be a big hit on the international stage.
The Huddersfield-born utility back is in England’s 20-man Academy Under 17s squad for tomorrow’s clash against the Australian Institute of Sport at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium (7.30).
It is the opening clash in a two-game international series, with former Newsome Panthers junior Lawrence expected to feature in at least one of the encounters.
And Sharp knows his new Super League squad member will not be out of his depth.
“I was chuffed to bits for Michael when he was called up, but not in the least bit surprised,” said Sharp.
“He has been a pleasure to coach from day one, with his tremendous attitude and hard-working approach having made a positive impression on everyone.
“On top of that, he is an incredibly skilful player and is improving all the time in the full-time environment.
“I know he has the ability to do really well against the Australians, and playing for England will set him up perfectly for his time with us in the Super League squad.
“If he keeps himself fit and healthy, this England Academy call will be a sign of things to come.”
Although the 17-year-old Lawrence is part of the Giants squad for Super League XIII, he could still turn out for the club’s Academy sides in 2008.
Like the senior men, Huddersfield’s junior squads have also returned to training this week, and Sharp is looking for more of his club’s Academy players to progress up to Super League in the near future.
“I went to meet the players from our lower grades and they, too, are all excited about the season ahead,” added Sharp.
“I think what really gave them a lift was receiving their new KooGa training kit. It made them feel as if they really were part of the Giants ‘team’.
“We’ve got some very talented players in our junior ranks, and it would be great if some of them could soon be following in the footsteps of someone like Michael.”