Alongside David Clegg, Lee Mossop Looks Back Over The Career Which Has Resulted in His Joining Salford
Lee’s promotion to the Wigan first team came in 2008, with his debut in a home Challenge Cup tie, against French side, Pia Donkeys. To say that it was something of a dream start for him would not be an over statement, as, apart from being on the right side of a 56-0 victory, upon his introduction from the bench, he scored a try with his first touch of the ball.
His first Super League match soon followed with an away fixture at Huddersfield, but the match of which he has a special memory was his first taste of a Wigan v Saints derby.
“There had always been a keen rivalry between the two clubs at Academy level, but that was nothing compared with playing against Saints, in front of 25,000 spectators,” he enthuses. “I absolutely loved it, and, best of all, we won.”
That proved to be only the first of a number of such occasions, one of which was even more special than the rest.
“I especially enjoyed playing in the last ever game at Knowsley Rd,” he recounts. “It was a really tough match, and particularly meant a lot to the Saints, but it was we, who won. I got knocked out early on, but managed to shrug it off, and stay on.”
Performing for Wigan, on a weekly basis, as efficiently as he was, it is probably unsurprising that he was, along with a number of his teammates, brought into the national setup, where he was destined to make an equally effective contribution.
“It all started with being selected for the England Knights, against Cumbria,” he relates. “Being a proud Cumbrian, I would have been equally proud to have been selected for the opposition, alongside my brother, who, instead, was lining up against me. It was a tough match, but we won.”
Playing against people, with whom he had a relatively close relationship, was to continue the following season, when he was included in the two mid-season games against the Exiles, and facing up to him on this occasion were Wigan props, Jeff Lima and Epalahame Lauaki.
“I thought this was a great idea to give the national team a solid hit,” is his considered opinion. “Luckily enough I played well enough to keep my place in the squad for the Autumn Internationals, when I got my first international cap against Wales and a second against France.
“During the series I roomed up with Adrian Morley, who was a player I had always admired, having achieved everything in the game, and there was I, a youngster, not only playing alongside him but also sharing a room with him. It was overwhelming.”
His international highlight came, the following year, when he featured in the World Cup opener, against Australia, who won 28-20.
“That match is something I will never forget,” he maintains.
Unfortunately, owing to recurring shoulder injuries and surgery, this was his last international of that period of his career, but he is extremely determined that it will not be the last of all.
“It is something I desperately want to return to,” he confides. “Following the injuries and surgery upon them, I struggled to regain my confidence, and never got back to the required level, but now I feel I am getting back to my best, and, hopefully, under Ian Watson’s coaching and guidance, I will regain my place in the national team, which is my ultimate goal.”
Now, after what must seem like half a lifetime in cherry and white, he has chosen to join us here, at Salford.
“The move came totally out of the blue,” he explains. “I had not expected to leave Wigan, but some of the pleasure in playing had started to fade for me, and I realised I needed a change.
“I came to speak with Ian Watson, and quickly realised that this was the place to come. I signed for only a year, but now that I am here, I am really enjoying it. We have a strong squad, and once we start really believing in ourselves we will shock a few people, and it will also entice a few more players to want to come here. With Ian Watson we have a top coach, and all the players have a high respect for him.”