Castleford ambitions take priority - Michael Shenton

Michael Shenton

England international Michael Shenton has said improving Castleford Tigers' Super League form comes before his World Cup ambitions this season.

The 26-year-old has nine caps but has not featured for Steve McNamara's side since the inaugural Exiles match at Headingley in June 2011.

"It would be brilliant to be involved but Castleford are taking a lot of things up," Shenton told BBC Sport.

"I've got to keep improving and try to get a shout at the end of the year."

Shenton was a first-choice at the time of his last appearance, building on a prolific season for Cas that earned him a move to Saints the following season.

Having ruptured his Achilles against New Zealand in the 2010 Four Nations, Shenton was left out of the Four Nations squad for 2011 as NRL-based Jack Reed and Hull's Kirk Yeaman took the centre spots. The emergence of Huddersfield's Leroy Cudjoe and Leeds' Kallum Watkins since has added extra competition.

"It's tough to get in Steve McNamara's eyes when the team were struggling," he added.

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Shenton delighted with Powell input

"There are a lot of quality centres out there, which is great for the country, people like Watkins are playing amazing and that's great for the national team.

"It's not worth thinking about at this stage, for Castleford to get top eight is my goal really."

Having initially departed Wheldon Road for a three-year deal at St Helens that brought him a try-scoring Grand Final appearance in 2011, Shenton opted to return to his boyhood club last season for the current campaign.

His return brought with it the captaincy from former boss Ian Millward, which has continued under new head coach Daryl Powell.

"I've loved it, it's a new challenge for me to come back in a different role at the club," Shenton added,

"The staff are great to work with, everybody's got time for you, and the boys are a young team, so it's great to watch them growing and learning the game.

"It's going to take time, with a young team and a small team to get the consistency, but I'm really happy."

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