DARRELL Goulding is looking forward to returning ‘home’ this year.
The 23-year-old, preparing for his eighth season in the first-team, is poised for a switch back to his favoured centre position.
Shaun Wane has handed him the No.3 shirt and confirmed he sees him contesting for his old spot, after two years spent predominantly as a winger.
And Goulding is glad to be heading back to a role he feels more comfortable with.
He said: “I’ve always prefered centre, it’s where I feel more natural.
“When I started back training in that position, it didn’t take me long to slot back into it. Waney sees me playing there and I do too.
“Don’t get me wrong, if I’m asked to play on the wing I’ll be more than happy to, I do quite enjoy it, but I prefer centre.”
Goulding burst onto the scene as a promising three-quarter in 2005 and after yoyo-ing in and out of the side under Brian Noble – and spending a stint on loan at Salford – he switched to the wing to prolific effect.
He scored 29 tries in just 26 appearances under Michael Maguire’s watch in 2010, with his predatory instincts earning him England honours during the end-of-season Four Nations.
The former Wigan St Pat’s amateur started 2011 on the wing and figured in the World Club Challenge, but fell behind Josh Charnley in the pecking order and was then hampered by a knee injury which required end-of-season surgery.
“I had a good time on the wing in 2010 but it was a great team and I had a quality centre in Gleese (Martin Gleeson) next to me,” said the now fully-fit three-quarter. I scored a lot of tries but a lot of those was finishing off a lot of hard work by other players.
“Waney sees me playing at centre and the circumstances – with Joel leaving – was probably good timing for me.”
With veteran George Carmont seemingly a shoo-in for the left centre spot, Goulding is set to duel with Kiwi recruit Anthony Gelling for the other position.
“Gell’s a good guy,” added Goulding, two years Gelling’s senior.
“He’s big and athletic, and he’s got masses of potential.”