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Josh Charnley aiming high ahead of Sale Sharks debut

Josh Charnley is yet to make his Sale Sharks debut but the rugby league convert admits his ambition to represent England in his new code already burns bright.

The former Wigan Warrior looks set for his grand unveiling for the Sharks this Friday in their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Wasps.

The 25-year-old, who scored 165 tries in 176 appearances for Wigan, has only been training with his new Aviva Premiership Rugby teammates for two weeks and admits he still has a lot to learn.

But the winger is the latest in a long line of union converts that includes fellow Wiganers Joel Tomkins, Chris Ashton and probably most famously of all World Cup winner Jason Robinson.

And Charnley admits he has sought advice from far and wide before making his move – with the aim of repeating his international exploits in league.

“When I was growing up as a kid Jason was my idol. I read his autobiographies, he’s a player I’ve looked up to over the years and luckily enough, I’ve actually followed his footsteps from Wigan to Sale. It’s good to follow a legend like him but I’ve got to create my own style of play.”

“I spoke to him a few years back, I had no idea of switching then, I just asked what it was like. He said it was a good thing.

“Having people like that who are saying it’s alright must be a good thing.

“I wanted a new challenge. I’ve been at Wigan now since I was 13 and I’ve achieved things that not many people have.

“Joel Tomkins was a big factor for me. Once I announced that I was coming here, I had numerous conversations with him and he pointed me in the right direction and where to be.

“The international scene in union is massive. Playing in front of 80,000 fans at Twickenham – you can’t get any better than that, so that’s an ambition of mine – to be picked.

“Anthony Watson got me tickets when we played Wales and won. I’ll always make time to watch them.”

His debut this Friday against Wasps comes remarkably quickly but Charnley is adamant that he wants to learn on the job.

“I’d rather be out there and learning it and get chucked straight in the deep end and learn from my mistakes,” he added.

“I’m always asking the lads what position I should be in and where I’m at. It’s going to take time, it’s like any job you’re new to.

“If you’re a right-winger in League you stay on the right side, you don’t really tend to go across. But in Union you’re always moving. It’s just picking up where to be in the right time.

“It’s totally different, it’s a different ball game. Being an outsider coming in, I’ve picked it up pretty well – I’ve not got any bad habits, I’ve never done it before so I’m learning from people who know what to do so I’m starting from scratch.”

So with limited exposure to the game under his belt, how will he feel on Friday before his debut?

“If I get the opportunity I’ll be buzzing,” he added.

“When I was at Wigan, I used to get there an hour earlier and chill out. I’m always an early character in there, I like to take it all in before it starts getting a little bit frantic.

“If I get picked, I’ll be buzzing, but if not, I’ve still got two and a half years here so I’m looking forward to that.”

The Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend and for all the fixtures and details of the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on 19 March see www.new-heroes.com

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