England boss Steve McNamara has revealed that Bulls scrum half Luke Gale is on his 2013 World Cup radar.
Gale enjoyed an outstanding debut campaign at Odsal and impressed again for the second-tier England Knights at the end of the season.
The 24-year-old helped inspire Kieron Purtill’s side to victory in the recent Alitalia Cup following victory over Ireland before injury ruled him out of last weekend’s clash with Scotland.
After signing a new three-year deal to keep him at Bradford until the end of 2015, Gale spoke of his desire to progress from the Knights into McNamara’s elite training squad.
And McNamara has confirmed that the former Harlequins man will continue to be monitored closely next term ahead of the 2013 World Cup, along with England academy captain John Bateman.
The former Bradford boss told the T&A: “Luke is a great character and it’s fantastic for the Bulls that they have managed to secure his future for the next three years.
“They’re clearly looking to build their team around him and he has the sort of qualities that we are looking for with England.
“Luke played for the Knights twice at the end of the 2011 season but then missed out during the mid-season games. Every player at some stage of their career is going to suffer setbacks but it’s how you react to them.
“International players tend to overcome those obstacles and find a way of coming back a better player for it. Luke has certainly done that.
“Could Luke push for the World Cup? I think everybody who’s involved in any of our programmes – the Knights and the elite training squad – will come into consideration.
“I’d also say there are probably two or three players, John Bateman being one, in the Under-18s academy side with the potential to push into this group.
“You find it’s that pressure coming from the bottom that squeezes players out at the top.
“Luke is definitely in that category and if he continues to impress for the Knights then he will be considered.”
McNamara says he has been impressed by the manner in which Gale reinvented himself after leaving Leeds before eventually making the grade as a Super League player.
“As I said, Luke’s got a great attitude and he’s done it the tough way,” added McNamara.
“He’s not been a superstar kid who has gone straight into the first-team and had everything his own way.
“He went to Doncaster and Harlequins, fighting hard to find a niche.
“You’ll find these guys often become the best international players because they don’t roll over and they don’t give in. They find a way to get past good teams.”