Rumoured Wigan target Matty Smith has been named in Steve McNamara’s 19-man-squad to face the Exiles, after impressing the England coach in the Knights' squad against Ireland last month.
Smith began his career at St Helens and spent loan spells at Widnes, Crusaders and eventually Salford where he has now become a dominant force in the squad.
The Reds' star admits to a vast improvement in his career since joining the Reds: "I came on loan three years ago and it’s taken me a while to get into it.
"With Phil Veivers and Sean Long coming in, and the way we’ve been playing, has probably got the best out of me. I’d say this year’s been my best year so far and I’m enjoying it. I’ve been in the Knights squad and picked for England now so it’s all been good."
Smith played alongside Long during his time at St. Helens, and believes that the current Salford assistant coach has been a huge influence on his improvement as a player. "Phil and Sean Long have been massive this year, they’ve really let me loose and let me play how I wanted to," says Smith.
"He’s probably forgotten more than I know, so he’s someone that you listen to. He’s made a real difference, not just to me but also for the team. We’ve won games on the back of our attacking game and it’s down to him."
Although no official announcement has been made regarding his club future, Salford coach Phil Veivers conceded that the 24-year-old would almost certainly move to Wigan in the coming weeks. Despite the interest from top clubs, Smith remains modest about his progress.
"I think I’m still learning and I’ve still got improvement in me, I believe I can be even better. It’s great to have interest from four clubs in the form of Wigan, Saints, Widnes and Salford. It’s a big compliment and I’m made up with it. I’ve just got to keep going the way that I am."
Smith has high ambitions and is hoping to secure his position in the England squad, as he eyes the World Cup next year. For now though, his mind remains on playing well for his club.
"I just want to finish the season off with Salford on a high and I want to win games. Internationally, I want to be in that squad at the end of the year and hopefully in 2013 going in to that World Cup. I can only do that by playing well for Salford and I’m hoping to do this in these last nine games."
by Beth Ashton