World Cup

McIllorum: ‘It will be a bit strange playing France”

20 Oct 22, 12:18PM 0 Comments

Written by John Davidson

Photo by Getty Images

Michael Mcllorum says he loves living in France and the French people, but that will be put to one side when England meet Les Tricolours on Saturday.

England is back in World Cup action this weekend in Bolton against France.

Mcllorum plays his club footy for Catalans Dragons and is enjoying his time in the European country, wanting to stay in France after he retires.

He admits it will be somewhat strange playing against his Catalans teammates on Saturday, but for the 80 minutes friendships will be put to one side.

“It’s pretty much the Catalans Dragons team without the Australian and the English lads,” the hooker said.

“It’ll be nice to see a few faces. I caught up with a few of them last week. We had a meal together.

“It will be a bit strange as a lot of them are my friends now but at the end of the day it’ll be game on.”

Mcllorum hails from Leeds but has been based in France since joining the Dragons from Wigan in 2018.

“I love living there,” he said.

“I love the people and everything about it. I want to stay there for as long as I can. For the rest of my life if that can happen.

“It is a big part of my life and I do enjoy living there. Me and my partner are very, very happy there. Our dogs are very happy there. So 100 per cent.

“When I come back to England and it’s raining non-stop it makes me realise how lucky I am to live there. I’ll be doing everything I can to stay out there.”

The forward believes it is important for France to do well internationally to help the sport grow across the country.

“I believe so, for the development of the kids over there,” he said.

“The kids in France need to watch the French lads play for the national team so they can aspire and have a goal to aim for.

“They might be playing for the local sides and see the national team doing well, it’s like anything – football in England is massive with kids watching that national team and wanting to play it.

“Hopefully French kids can do likewise over there and improve the development there.

“The World Cup in France in 2025 will be fantastic for the country, for the sport and for growing the game over there. There’s a lot of beautiful places where the potential is there for it to be big.

“A lot of the kids who come down to us are from the Avignon region. A lot come from that way and then they come down to the Catalans Dragons and a few go to Toulouse.

“There’s obviously a hotbed for rugby league but if it was a bit more widely known, there’s a lot of talent in France and it’s about trying to unearth that.

“Hopefully they have a bad week next week, though.”

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