Walker Reflects on 2017 Season

Walker Reflects on 2017 Season widnesvikings.co.uk

17th October 2017

Widnes Vikings hooker Danny Walker brought his impressive 2017 season to a close last week, with two appearances for England Academy. Speaking exclusively to the Vikings Media Team, he reflects on his inaugural Super League season and aims for continued success in 2018. 

The 18-year old hooker, along with fellow Vikings Owen Farnworth and Keanan Brand, was selected in the England squad that took on France in two tests last week. With a victory and defeat over the two games, Danny says that the squad can take a lot from their trip across the channel. 

“The results were obviously not what we were aiming for, we wanted two wins, but it was a great experience,” he said.

“We learnt a lot about each other, both on and off the field, and that can only be good as a team moving forward. In the first test, we weren’t quite there, but we dug in and got the win, which was great. 

“In the second game, we just weren’t on the beat and suffered as a result. It wasn’t through a lack of effort, they just managed to sneak it. Despite that result, the test has been great for us on the whole.”

Walker, known for his dynamism and speed around the ruck, managed to cross for England’s opening try. He says that he was happy with his overall contribution in France.

“I went over there with the same mindset that I have carried all year for both the U19s and first team, which is to just go out and do the best that I can,” he explains.

“I wanted to try play in a way where I could lead the team around the field in both games. I felt like I did that more in the first game than I did in the second, but I went okay and I gave 100%. 

“It was nice to get over for a try. It was just a little darting run to get over the line. I was pleased that helped us get the win in the first test.” 

Danny, who has represented England at all levels of its youth pathway, including a 2016 tour of Australia, says that his international experience has supported his development as a player.   

“It is a great experience, being involved in internationals,” he said.

“First off, you get to meet lads from all over, making mates for life at these camps. It’s also great to experience new environment. I love going to them and learning new things from the coaches, every time I’m there.”

Despite making several international youth appearances, Danny says that he still feels the same pride at representing his country as he did in his first appearance.

“I’m privileged to play and wear the England shirt, it’s a massive honour for me,” he said.

“I hope that the coaches have seen that I’ve always done my best. Hopefully, I can continue to push on and have more opportunities like this.”

In July, Danny put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal with the Vikings. The hooker says that the abundance of young talent coming through the Club’s Academy system was key to him committing his future to the Vikings.

“You can see how good our Academy has been over the last few years,” he said.

“It’s now the norm for Widnes to be getting three or four players representing their countries in each year group of the Academy, whether that is U16s or U19s. That is brilliant. 

“When you look at the first team and see the likes of Matt Whitley, who are still young but have great experience already, it can only mean good things. 

“Then you have the likes of Keanan Brand, who are waiting for their chance in the first team. That’s why I jumped in and signed a contract. The future is looking bright for the Club.”

Walker’s appearances for England came at the end of a whirlwind year for the youngster. Having been heavily involved in the Vikings’ Super 8s campaign, including the dramatic victory over Catalans Dragons, as well receiving as a nomination for the prestigious Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year Medal, it has been a brilliant season. Danny is overwhelmed when he looks back at the year in which he made his first-team bow.

“I didn’t even expect to be in the first team at all this year!” he said.

“But as soon as I got the chance, I knew I had to take it with both hands. When I got knocked out away at Leigh on my debut, I thought that I wouldn’t get another chance this year. Luckily, I did. 

“I knew I had to perform when Denis next gave me a chance, and I feel like I’ve done that. It’s all down to me now to take what I’ve done this year, and push forward into next season.” 

Having made an overwhelming impression in his senior debut year, Danny is determined to sustain his success.

“I’m hoping to follow what I’ve done last year, which is to give it everything that I’ve got and see where that takes me,” he said.

“Whether that is in the first team or at Under 19s, I know that I will always give 100%. Obviously, I’d love to be in and around the first team and keep progressing. I know that I need to keep learning and to continue to give it my all.”

As he looks ahead to 2018, Walker was keen to thank the Club’s Stronghold Members who have committed their support for next year’s Super League Campaign.

“They never stopped supporting us last season, even when it got tough. We know that we want to kick on in 2018 and give them more to cheer about. The backing from all the Stronghold Members means a lot and really makes a difference to the Club. It’s brilliant to see they’re getting behind us again.”

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Walker Reflects on 2017 Season widnesvikings.co.uk