EORL CRABTREE has revealed he is facing a major fitness battle to make England’s final Four Nations squad.
The 26-year-old Giants prop has been added to the train-on squad for this autumn’s series, along with teammate Scott Moore – who is returning to St Helens next season – and Hull KR duo Shaun Briscoe and Peter Fox. They were called up after their elimination from the play-offs at the weekend.
All four were in the England side that beat France 66-12 in the mid-season international in Paris, with Crabtree confident he will feature against the French, Australia and New Zealand – as long as he fit following knee surgery and recovers from a broken right wrist!
“I was obviously delighted when Tony (England coach Smith) rang up and told me I was in,” said Crabtree.
“But I had to tell him I need surgery on my knee and have also been instructed to rest my wrist.
“I’m going in for the knee to be repaired on Monday – it’s been a problem for a while now – and I’ll probably be unable to play for about three weeks.
“That’s also the same amount of time I’ll need for the wrist to heal.
“Tony was happy to go along with that, and has told me to join the England camp when I’m ready.
“I just hope that’s before we play our opening game against France on October 23, because playing in this series has been a target for me all season.
“But if everything goes according to plan that shouldn’t be a problem.”
As well as the French, England face Australia in Wigan on October 31 and New Zealand at the Galpharm a week later.
And Crabtree knows he can’t take his selection for granted, even though he played a starring role in the big mid-season win over the French.
“We’ve got some quality props in the England squad and I’m going to have to work hard to get in,” he added.
“But I’m determined to show Tony how much I want to be included, and hopefully after the surgery I’ll come back stronger.”
Nathan Brown’s season’s thoughts – Pages 38 & 39.