LEE Mossop has been backed to crown his stunning debut season in the front-row by gatecrashing the Four Nations.
Michael Maguire only switched the Cumbrian from the second row at the start of the Super League campaign.
But the Wigan coach reckons he has done enough to crack into the England side later this year as a prop.
“I approached Lee in the pre-season and said I’d like him to play in the front row,” Maguire said.
“He’s a skilful, big player and there’s still improvement in him.
“I thought, the way he played, it would suit the front row. He runs hard and does the little things right.
“And he’s going to be great for England.”
Despite being a relative rookie in the front row, Mossop regularly tops the tackle count and the metres gained among the Wigan forwards.
“One of the best things about Lee is his consistency, and it’s what all players want,” Maguire added.
“He turns up every week and performs, and that’s what your more senior, experienced players have, and he’s already showing that at a young age.
“Hopefully he’ll continue to show that quality, and the scary thing is he can only get better.”
The likes of Adrian Morley and Jamie Peacock are prime examples of second rows who have made the successful transition to prop.
And Maguire is confident Mossop is well-equipped to follow in the footsteps of the Test stars.
The Australian agreed: “I do. He’s big, strong, tall, mobile – and I think front row is his best position.
“He’s still capable of doing a good job on the edge and I wouldn’t hesitate to put him there if we needed to, but I think he’s doing a terrific job in the front row.
“He’s in the England Knights squad and I’d like to think he could force his way into the senior team.
“The way his form has been this year, especially in the last couple of months, I’d like to think he’d be knocking on the door when the Four Nations rolls around. And I’m sure he’ll get his opportunities if he carries on doing as he is doing.”
It possibly speaks volumes of how highly Maguire rates Mossop that he has pulled him out of the firing line for tomorrow night’s game at Bradford – the last hit-out before next weekend’s Challenge Cup final against Leeds.
The coach hinted he would rest some senior players and both Mossop – who missed last year’s Super League Grand Final with a shoulder problem – and Andy Coley have been omitted for their own good.
WIGAN SQUAD: S Tomkins, Goulding, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Leuluai, McIlorum, Hansen, J Tomkins, O’Loughlin, Prescott, Lima, Hoffman, O’Carroll, Farrell, Marsh, Charnley, Hughes, Hock.