Wigan Warriors’ Gildart follows dad’s steps by playing at Liverpool FC’s Anfield

Oliver Gildart with his family after winning the 2017 World Club Challenge
Oliver Gildart with his family after winning the 2017 World Club Challenge

England hero Oliver Gildart has already emulated his dad by pulling on a Wigan shirt – and this weekend he is set to match another of his feats.

Ian Gildart was a member of the Cherry and Whites squad which won the World Club Challenge in 1991.

Their 21-4 victory against Penrith was staged at Liverpool’s iconic Anfield stadium – venue of Sunday’s second Test between England and New Zealand.

Gildart jnr, a WCC winner himself last year, lit up the opening match in Hull with a stunning solo try to clinch an 18-16 win. And his dad has told him he will need to turn up the volume if he keeps his place in the second the crunch showdown on Sunday.

Ian said: “The World Club against Penrith was nearly 30 years ago but I can still remember what it was like, you get a real buzz from the crowd.

“You could hardly hear each other speak, it was so loud.

“To play at Anfield was a dream for a lot of people because whether you like Liverpool or not, it’s such an iconic stadium and rugby league players are like just fan, they want to go to the best grounds.

“To go back, now, and hopefully see Oliver play there... it’s incredible, really.”

Gildart’s family were at Hull’s KCOM Stadium last Saturday to cheer on the 22-year-old on his international debut.

“It’s still not really sunk in,” said Ian, who made 139 appearances for hometown club Wigan between 1986 and ‘94.

“My wife and I woke on on Sunday morning and we looked at each other as if to say, ‘Did that really happen?’

“He knows the game, he doesn’t need me telling him how to play but I did tell him how proud of him we were - to play in a World Club Challenge and Grand Finals were big, but this was another level.

“And to then score such a great try, against a quality full-back, it was the perfect dream.”

Gildart may be a Manchester United fan, but he was under Liverpool’s umbrella as a promising junior football before making the switch to rugby league.

“He was with Liverpool from the age of five, then he wanted to play rugby league as well,” added his dad.

“I can still picture him playing his first game for Ince St Williams, he suffered a bust nose and I thought, ‘There’s no way he’ll carry on with this!’.”

Gildart’s family will be at Anfield (KO 2.30pm) to watch the second Test against Michael Maguire’s Kiwis. Authorities are hoping to get a crowd of more than 25,000.

Bennett is expected to name his side today and will need to find a replacement for Sean O’Loughlin, who has been ruled out with a alf injury.

Warriors duo Sam Powell and Tom Davies have kept their place in the England Knights side to face PNG on Saturday.