LEE Mossop has been labelled “the future of England” – by the player he is aiming to succeed in the national team.
Former skipper Jamie Peacock is a huge fan of the towering Cumbrian, hailing him as the best of Wigan’s cluster of strong front-rower.
Mossop has made no secret of his desire to become the country’s leading prop and he can take another step towards that mantle when he faces Leeds in Saturday’s crunch Challenge Cup semi-final.
He’s certainly got a big admirer in the enemy camp, with Peacock saying: “Lee is going to be the future of England team for some time.
“They have some good props at Wigan and he is the best of them.”
Mossop earned England honours against the Exiles this year and is determined to become a regular figure in the international side following Peacock’s retirement. “If I can keep developing as a prop then hopefully I can be the number one England prop.
“Jamie Peacock is a player I’ve looked up to massively, Adrian Morley too, and to be around those players in the England squad, and see how they handle themselves, how they train and how they prepare for the games was massive for me.
“Jamie has this aura about him and people instantly have that respect for him and that is something that I want – but I have to earn it first. He’s earned it.”
Peacock actually presented Mossop with his last England shirt and he was impressed with the 23-year-old.
“To be that good a player at that age and be someone who is willing to learn and work hard. He’s a tough player too,” said Peacock.
“It’s impressive for someone that young to be confident but also to have the attitude as well. That marked him out as someone that could be in the England team for that time.”
Mossop won the Challenge Cup with Wigan last year, proving his mettle by returning to the pitch after dislocating his shoulder early in the game.
The direct-running prop is determined to secure a return to Wembley by overcoming Brian McDermott’s Rhinos in front of the BBC cameras at Huddersfield this Saturday, kick-off 5.30pm.
“Last year, the build up to the week was brilliant, we got down there and train at Saracens and went out for nice meals,” he said.
“Then coming out of the tunnel and the crowd erupting... it gives you a massive boost to get back to that.
“I’ll be doing everything to make sure we hopefully come away with a good performance again.”
Mossop’s form has continued to rise this season, and the academy-product is quick to praise Shaun Wane for breeding a winning mentality at the club. He said: “You’d think taking the biggest coaching job in the world here at Wigan, he’d be nervous, but from the word go he was as confident as ever and you only have to see how well we’re going this year. He’s doing a real good job.
“When he took over, he wanted a more physical style, he wanted a bigger pack and for us to play with more aggression.
“He wants the attacking style, I think we’ve thrown the ball around a lot more this season, got a lot more points on the board.
“He’s just breeding more confidence in us to chance our arm a bit.
“Sometimes last year or the year before (under Michael Maguire), if we’d had an offload that was 50/50 then we’d have kept hold of the ball.
“As a person he’s not changed one bit.
“He’s straight down the middle and if you’re not giving him what he wants then it won’t take a minute to pull you up on it – then if you do it again then you’re not in the team for a couple of weeks.
“So he’s not changed in that style, but as a coach he’s just developed, he’s just picking up new things and isn’t scared to run with it.
“Every time we’ve picked up a few injuries he just keeps saying ‘We’ll get on with it’.
“He has the attitude of, ‘no matter what happens we’ll overcome it’, and that’s what he breeds into us as players now.”