When Sam Tomkins burst onto the scene in Super League in 2009, he had people’s jaws dropping.
By the end of that season, he was in the Super League Dream Team and in Tony Smith’s England side on his way to being the face of Super League.
Now the veteran England skipper is backing a St Helens star to be the next “English star.”
Jack Welsby has been open about being inspired by Sam Tomkins growing up and to many Welsby is the next Tomkins now that he has the number one shirt at St Helens.
Already a three-time Grand Final winner and a big part of those successes, Sam Tomkins thinks the sky is the limit for Welsby.
Reflecting on his performance against Fiji, Tomkins said of Welsby:
“I thought he was brilliant. I think this World Cup is a massive opportunity for Jack, he’s proven in Super League he’s a star player and I’d love Jack to now go and show the world exactly what he can do.
“There’s no better stage than a World Cup.
“Although he’s young, he’s clearly got everything he needs to be a top rugby league player.”
He then went on to say that he thinks Welsby is the next English star: “Yeah, I think he’s the next English star for me. He’s a nice lad, I think the fact he’s playing at a great club in St Helens and played about five positions and not just filling in but he goes and he is the best in that position.
“He’s a real natural rugby player, I think he’s going to go on to real special things.”
That said, there’s no guarantee Welsby will play. Tomkins, if fit, will be nailed down at fullback which would leave Welsby battling it out with George Williams and Marc Sneyd for a place in the halves.
Tomkins revealed he doesn’t yet know who will join him in the halves but believed it indicated the brilliant depth in the squad: “I don’t know who will be playing in the halves, Shaun has a few headaches the spine’s one, the wingers are another, we have three great wingers in the group. Then of course there’s the middles. We will have forwards who won’t play who are international standard.
“They are headaches for Shaun and it’s exactly what he’d want and what we want. Whatever 17 he puts out there is going to be a strong side.”