England star denies ESL is lagging behind NRL

One of England’s most talented footballers, Sam Tomkins, has rubbished claims that there is a distinct disparity between the English Super League (ESL) and the National Rugby League (NRL).

In doing so, he also talked up his side’s chances of bouncing back against an Australian side itching to maintain the edge over their archrivals.

Tomkins, who is believed to be the brightest and most talented English player playing the game right now, the 21 year old categorically stated that the brand of footy he is used to in the ESL, is more than adequate when it comes to producing top class players that have the ability to upset the Kangaroos side.

“I think it’s a bit of a myth now that the NRL is a lot further forward than the Super League,” Tomkins told AAP.

“There’s lads playing week-in week-out in Super League and playing well but then they worry about playing against Australia and New Zealand, whereas if we just concentrate on what we do week-in and week-out I don’t think we’ll be far off.”

After a relatively poor performance against New Zealand in their opening Four Nations clash, there were stories abound that the ESL wasn’t on par with the NRL in regards the physicality of the game, with NRL players Gareth Ellis and Sam Burgess the only standouts, both of whom are English.

Whilst many believe that the English will only be able to beat England should the two back-rowers in Ellis and Burgess fire once more, Tomkins believes that the ESL players in the English side are more than capable of rising to the occasion as long as they overcame the distinct mental barrier to re-assert to themselves that they can match it with the best players in the game.

“I think the speed of the game – it’s not quicker than the Super League, certainly not the Tests I’ve played in,” Tomkins said.

“The anticipation of the big step up is worse than what it actually is – when you come into it you’re thinking ‘it’s going to be different, it’s going to be quicker and faster’, but I’ve not found that and I don’t think many people do.”

Despite his young age, Tomkins oozes confidence, and it’s a main reason as to why he is a part of the leadership group for the English despite only having played 7 tests for his country.

There is speculation abound that Tomkins may shift from the halves to fullback, a position in which he excelled at for Wigan this year.

Tomkins says he has no qualms about where he plays, but dismissed talk that he wasn’t willing to put his body on the line as a player against the bigger players.

“I had it all year in the Super League so it’s nothing new, the big fellas having a go at me,” Tomkins said.

“I enjoy the physical side of the game, I’m not someone who shirks their responsibility at the defensive end – it doesn’t bother me and I’ll certainly be expecting it again this weekend.”

If the move materialises, and Tomkins does indeed end up moving to fullback, Storm back-up fullback  Gareth Widdop may seem himself dropped from the side altogether.

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