Wakefield centre Reece Lyne is happy to miss out on a trip of a lifetime after being called into the England squad for the autumn internationals.
Lyne was expecting a phone call from England Knights coach Paul Anderson to confirm plans for the tour to Papua New Guinea when instead England’s senior manager Jamie Peacock rang to tell him he had been promoted to the main squad.
The former Hull player is line to make his England debut against France at Leigh on October 17 and is ready to fight for a place in the three-match Test series against New Zealand.
“It was unexpected, I’m still pinching myself,” said Lyne. “I was overwhelmed when I got the call from JP.
“I was expecting one off Paul Anderson about the Knights tour. I’m not too keen on flying, although it would have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m sure the boys will have a great time.
“But your goal is to play for the England first team, that’s what you dream of as kids.”
Lyne, who represented England at junior level and played against the Australian schoolboys, believes he is ready to step on to the big stage after producing the best form of his career.
“This has been my best season,” he said. “I moved from Hull at a young age and it took a bit of time maturing. I’m 25 now so hopefully I’ve got my best years ahead of me.
“(England head coach) Wayne Bennett’s record speaks for itself for what he’s achieved in the game and I can’t wait to meet him and start learning off him. I’m sure he’ll be able to add a few things to my game.”
Lyne is one of five uncapped players named in Bennett’s 24-man squad.
The others are his Wakefield team-mate Tom Johnstone, St Helens prop Luke Thompson, Wigan second rower Joe Greenwood and Castleford loose forward Adam Milner.
The most notable omission is St Helens hooker James Roby, who will have surgery for an unspecified injury at the end of the Super League season.
His absence has paved the way for the recall of Daryl Clark, who will be competing with the fit-again Josh Hodgson for the number nine jersey, while full-back Sam Tomkins is back in the squad after a four-year absence.
England squad: J Bateman (Wigan), G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess (all South Sydney), D Clark (Warrington), J Connor (Hull), L Gale (Castleford), J Graham (St George Illawarra), J Greenwood (Wigan), C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), T Johnstone (Wakefield), J Lomax (St Helens), R Lyne (Wakefield), T Makinson (St Helens), J McGillvary (Huddersfield), A Milner (Castleford), S O’Loughlin (Wigan), M Percival (St Helens), S Ratchford (Warrington), L Thomps on (St Helens), S Tomkins (Wigan), E Whitehead (Canberra), G Williams (Wigan).