Kevin Sinfield has been given the backing of Wayne Rooney
- and feels it is good news for rugby league in general.
Manchester United star Rooney, who captained his country for the first time against San Marino earlier this month, has become an avid Leeds Rhinos fan and was one of the first people to send a message of congratulations to Sinfield on his appointment as England skipper.
Sinfield, who will lead the national team for the first time against Wales in Wrexham on Saturday afternoon, was thrilled to get the backing of Rooney, not for personal reasons but for the message it sends about rugby league.
"He sent a really nice tweet to Phil Daley, our media manager at Leeds, and he passed it on," Sinfield said.
"His support, certainly around Grand Final time, has been a big boost to all of the Leeds lads.
"The fact that he's showing an interest in the England squad now is good for all of us.
"I wouldn't compare myself to him at all. I think what he's achieved in football is huge.
"I think it's really good for our sport that an England football captain is bothered about rugby league and is supportive of us. It shows as a sport that we are growing."
Sinfield shot to prominence before his England appointment after recovering from being knocked out in the Grand Final to inspire Leeds to a sixth Super League title.
Typically modest, the Oldham-born international was oblivious to all adulation that accompanied his man-of-the-match heroics at Old Trafford.
"I'm not a social networker, it's not my type of thing," he said.
"I'm quite a private person.
"I obviously care about what people think of me but my family are the most important people and, as long as the coaches I'm playing for and my team-mates around me appreciate what I do, then I'm very happy.
"I think the big message is that rugby league is growing. We've had quite a lot of negative press recently with what happened at Bradford and recently at Salford but I think there's some real positives for rugby league that have come out this year.
"The likes of Wayne Rooney
getting involved and Rio (Ferdinand) turning up at Headingley when Wigan smashed us is showing that our sport is actually moving and catching the eye of some people.
"It's not about me, it's about rugby league getting the profile it deserves and the international recognition it deserves."