Joe Greenwood was “gutted” when he took the call about his England call-up – because he thought he was being cut from the second-string Knights squad!
The uncapped forward was one of five Warriors players yesterday named in the 24-man party to take on New Zealand this autumn.
Greenwood had previously been in the train-on squad for the Knights’ tour of Papua New Guinea.
And he said: “Jamie Peacock (England manager) phoned me on Monday night.
“I’d been in the train-on squad for the England Knights, and he said, ‘You won’t be going Down Under’.
“When he said that, I was gutted.
“But then he said, ‘You’re in the 24-man England squad instead’, so I was over the moon!
“I didn’t know what to say, I was speechless.”
Team-mates Sean O’Loughlin, George Williams and departing John Bateman and Sam Tomkins were also included in the squad.
Related: Warriors trio heading Down Under
Greenwood, 25, has played in nine matches since joining Wigan mid-season from Gold Coast Titans, where he was frozen out of the first-team frame.
His size has added some potency to Shaun Wane’s side.
“I was hoping England might happen but I didn’t think it would be this quick since coming back (to England),” he said. “I wanted to get settled here and find my feet again, and it’s great. But my main goal is this Friday.”
Wigan host Castleford with a place in the following weekend’s Grand Final at stake.
“We want to be on the big stage, we want to be at Old Trafford,” said Greenwood.
“We’ve got a big game against Cas’, everyone is buzzing, the mood is going around the camp.”
Wane will today name his 19-man squad and it is set to include fit-again Sean O’Loughlin and Thomas Leuluai. Sam Tomkins, rested last week, is also set for a recall while prop Ben Flower trained yesterday as he eyes a comeback from a back injury.
Ben Thaler will be referee on Friday.
League leaders St Helens host Warrington in tomorrow’s other semi-final.