HEIGHINGTON SAYS HE’S READY FOR INTERNATIONAL FOOTY
22/09/2011 3:37:26 PM
Wests Tigers workhorse, Chris Heighington believes that he is ready to make the step up to International football if given the opportunity in this year’s Four Nations tournament starting in late October.
It was announced earlier this week that the Wests Tiger back rower had been selected in England’s train on squad which puts him one step closer to making his International debut.
And the 28 year old feels ready for that opportunity should it come.
“I’ve played close to 200 games now and had nine years in first grade. I just feel I’m ready to step up and have a crack at the International side of things.
“I’m happy with my form this year and feel that I’ve been pretty consistent. My aim was to be consistent week in week out and I think I have done that.
“Playing with the likes of Robbie Farah, Rob Lui, Benji and a consistently strong forward pack also helps. If everyone plays well within the team, you seem to reap the rewards yourself.”
Despite being one of the NRL’s form back rowers over the past few seasons, Heighington has not been in the thoughts or minds of NSW and Australian selectors but England coach Steve McNamara had his own views.
Through his father and grandfather, who are both from Durham, Heighington is qualified to represent England.
Heighington recalled how it all came about.
“I met with Steve (McNamara) over a year ago. He was honest and said that he really wanted me to be in the system.
“We met a couple more times since then, exchanged emails, phone calls etc and I could see that he really wanted me in his squad.
“I’m extremely proud of where my granddad and father come from so I thought that I should give it a shot. I’ve also got other family members still in the UK so I’m really excited about getting back over there.”
It all looked like it would become a reality when the pair spoke on the phone just over a month ago.
“I spoke with Steve a while back and he said that if I maintained my form, I’d definitely be selected.
“I want to represent at the highest level and really test myself so getting this opportunity makes me and my family extremely proud.”
Heighington leaves for the UK on 4 October to join his England team mates. The final squad will be announced a few days after the English Super League Grand Final, scheduled for 8 October.
England will play in a friendly against France on 21 October before their first match of the tournament v Wales on 29 October.
At some stage during his stay, Chris will pay a visit to the Heighington village where his father grew up. Heighington is located in the borough of Darlington, County Durham.
“I will definitely go there to spend some time and get a photo for sure. It will be an interesting journey getting there when I don’t really know my way around”, he chuckled.