Sinfield not taking place for granted
As he prepares to lead England for the first time, Kevin Sinfield insists he will have to continue to fight for his place in the team.
The inspirational Leeds skipper was an obvious choice to succeed his Rhinos team-mate Jamie Peacock as captain of the national team but, on the eve of Saturday's game against Wales in Wrexham, he says his appointment does not make him an automatic selection.
"I never thought that at Leeds either," Sinfield said. "I never take my place for granted. I never rest of my laurels. The focus for me is on playing well."
He went on: "I think there are a number of leaders in the team and any one of them is capable of stepping in and being captain at some stage.
"I know I've got to fight for my spot like everybody else."
The 32-year-old Sinfield wore the number six for England in seven consecutive appearances up to being rested for the second of this summer's Exiles games and was a shoe-in for the spot after another hugely-impressive season with his club.
But he could face renewed competition in the build-up to the 2013 World Cup, most notably from Melbourne Storm's Halifax-born stand-off Gareth Widdop, who played a key role in his club's Grand-Final triumph but has been ruled out of England's autumn internationals through injury.
With England's other Australia-based players James Graham, Sam Burgess and Jack Reed also sidelined, along with Super League-based regulars Ben Westwood, Rangi Chase and Eorl Crabtree, Sinfield will be among a host of players aiming to steal a march during the autumn internationals.
"This competition is very important for us," Sinfield added. "If you look at the players who aren't in the squad through suspension or injuries or whatever reason, the talent we've got available now is massively competitive.
"For me to make sure I'm involved in future series and World Cups, I need to play well."