Facing Ben is the ultimate test - Farrell

Liam Farrell at Salford

Liam Farrell at Salford

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LIAM Farrell is preparing for a battle royal this Friday against a forward he rates as one of the best in England.

The 22-year-old has been propelled to the No.1 back-rower in Shaun Wane’s side after an unlikely string of events.

Harrison Hansen and Chris Tuson both suffered injuries in pre-season, and Gareth Hock’s move to Widnes on loan has put Farrell on centre stage.

He was brilliant against Salford last Friday night, partnering Jack Hughes in a youthful back-row in which both players went the distance.

“When I saw there were no back-rowers on the bench, I kind of figured I would be playing 80 minutes,” grinned the amiable Farrell.

“I’ve gone from a bunch position, where there were a few of us playing for two position, to now there only being two of us. It means there is maybe a bit more pressure on me, but I wanted that.

“I wanted a starting spot and I’m glad to get it, hopefully I can do enough to keep it.”

Farrell, who figured mainly off the bench last season, faces a big test in front of the Sky Sports cameras this Friday when he lines-up against Ben Westwood.

“Ben is an England back-rower and proved over the last yew years what he can do,” said Farrell.

“Last year he was one of the best backrowers in the competition with Gaz (Hock), and so it’s a big test for myself.”

Head of sports science Mark Bitcon revealed last week that Farrell is the fittest member of the Wigan squad, following pre-season testing.

And he even said he would be “top three, hands down” if he entered the TV show Superstars – which sees athletes from different disciplines face off over different challenges.

“I’m not sure about that,” Farrell blushed.