Warriors youngster Jack Wells admits he faces a tough task trying to prise his way into an all-England backrow.
The 19-year-old figured three times for the first-team in 2016 as Shaun Wane battled a constant injury crisis.
I will be happy to follow whatever my coaches suggestJack Wells
But Wells will start the year behind Liam Farrell, Joel Tomkins and John Bateman in the battle for second-row spots.
Loose-forward Sean O’Loughlin completes the international crop of back-rowers, while 23-year-old Connor Farrell is also in the mix.
Wells said: “I do want to cement down a place in the first-team squad but it will be difficult with international players like Liam and John in front of me.
“It depends on whether Waney (Shaun Wane) is impressed by how well I train or not.
“Hopefully he gives me a shot if I train hard because that is just what I did last year.
“I knuckled down and worked hard with the Under 19s, then he asked me to go to a couple of first-team sessions, I trained with them, he liked what he saw and he signed me and handed me my debut. Last year was great.”
The 19-year-old was one of eight academy-products who debuted last term, and has been tipped for a bright future, having represented England at academy level.
He made his first-team debut against Wakefield Trinity last term and went on to make two more appearances for the Cherry and Whites. “Despite the result, I really enjoyed making my debut against Wakefield (in a 62-0 defeat), and I still embraced the occasion and loved every minute of playing my first game for Wigan,” he said.
Wells featured in the 2016 Under 19s Grand Final loss to St Helens last term and is still young enough to play in that league this year.
But it is first-team games the ex-Folly Lane amateur wants, and he is open to the idea of spending time on loan at another club – even in a lower league. He added: “Going out on loan may do me good and it could give me some of that first-team experience that I need.
“The Championship is full of big bodies and it is the same with Super League.
“I need the experience to put me out there but it still ticks me over even if I am playing for the Under 19s and I will be happy to follow whatever my coaches suggest.”
Wells may get his first chance to impress when Wigan play their first senior friendly, against Leigh on January 22.