HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ England hero Leroy Cudjoe feels his two-week break has been richly deserved.
The 24-year-old centre rounded off his competitive season by helping his country beat France in Sunday’s Autumn Series International final at Salford.
The former Newsome Panthers junior also played in the group game triumphs over France and Wales.
At the same time, his Giants teammates have returned to pre-season training ahead of the start of Super League XVIII next February.
With Cudjoe (left) now spending the next fortnight away from the John Smith’s Stadium, it means he’ll miss over a month of vital pre-season work.
But given the season the in-form three-quarter has just experienced, he’s taken his break with the full blessing of head coach Paul Anderson.
“These two weeks are pretty important for me,” said Cudjoe. “You never really want to miss pre-season, but after the year I’ve had I think I’ve deserved a couple of weeks off.
“I took part in all of pre-season in January, played in trials games and then didn’t miss a single Giants League and Cup game.
“On top of that, I trained regularly with England and played in the second Origin Test against the Exiles at Huddersfield in July.
“As a result, I’ve hardly had a break at all, apart from a couple of days here and there.
“My body does still feel good, and I’m sure I’ll keep myself pretty busy over the next few weeks.
“But I know this break will freshen me up, both physically and mentally, and getting back to work with the boys is something I’m already looking forward to.”
Cudjoe has also re-emphasised how much of a boost in confidence playing in all three England matches has given him, and how much he has benefited from being the only Huddersfield man in the squad.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved with England this autumn,” he added.
“To be honest, with the way the Giants had finished this Super League season, I was expecting to be left out of the initial squad.
“So to play every minute of the two group games and then all of the final was fantastic.
“And being in a winning final side was just the icing on the cake. It was an amazing way to finish my competitive season, and it does wonders for your confidence.
“It was also brilliant to celebrate with such a great set of players.
“Even though there are so many ‘stars’ in this squad, there are no big egos at all and no cliques. We’re just one big set of mates, who get on really well and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.
“This England squad may be made up of a lot of players from rival Super League clubs, but when we come together it feels like a team environment.
“We’re all in it for each other and we’d do anything to help each other out.
“I suppose, in other circumstances, it could have been really tough for me going on the recent 10-day training trip to South Africa as the only players from the Giants.
“But that wasn’t the case at all. From start to finish I felt 100% at home with the group.”
Cudjoe is, however, looking forward to being back with his No1 team – the Giants!
“I might have been away from the club a fair bit over recent weeks, but I’ve still be keeping up with what’s going on,” he continued.
“We’ve made some fantastic signings and Baloo (coach Paul Anderson) is really starting to put his mark on the squad. It’s very exciting.”