Had things turned out a little differently, George Ford could have been gearing up for the new Super League season as a Bulls player.

The 20-year-old Bath fly-half, the son of former Castleford half-back Mike Ford, played league and union as a youngster and had spells in the academies at Wigan and Bradford.

He was offered terms by the Bulls and Leicester Tigers but chose to move to the academy at Welford Road.

His promotion to the senior England squad last week is expected to be followed by a first international cap next month in the Six Nations.

Former Bulls chairman Peter Hood remembers trying to lure Ford to Odsal during Steve McNamara’s reign five years ago.

He recalled: “It would be true to say we made strenuous attempts to bring George to Bradford and we probably went further than we would normally have done.

“I’d compare it to when we signed John Bateman. George was in a class of his own and had come to our attention and was mentioned by all of our scouts.

“Steve Mac and his coaches – indeed, every coach – would have been aware of him at that time.

“We were quite optimistic that if he was going to play rugby league, then Bradford would have been his preferred choice.

“Peter Medley and his team were doing a lot of work behind the scenes and, with the financial package, we had a really good chance of getting his signature.

“He was absolutely at the top of Bradford’s list of targets but chose Leicester and has not looked back. Good luck to him.”