“ENGLAND is not going to recognise me,” James Graham joked.

“I left a tea drinker and a pint of lager drinker and I’m going home drinking almond cappuccinos and I’m on the craft beer scene.

“I don’t know what I’ve become.”

The veteran forward was still dressed in his St George playing kit as he answered a a question from TV pundit Michael Ennis, his former Canterbury Bulldogs team-mate, as to whether he preferred a “cold schooner or a warm pint” after outstanding careers on both sides of the world.

It was a sign of that quick-wit that made him such a popular figure in the dressing room (it was Knowsley Road in Graham’s days) has not changed.

And while some of the physical powers that made him one of the sport’s modern day great forwards may be diminishing, Saints are banking that the knowledge, experience, leadership and ball playing skill that have defined his career will galvanise the Saints squad, when the season resumes in August.

St Helens Star:

James Graham in his days as a young forward with Saints

It is also worth underlining that Graham captained England and Great Britain in the last two international series.

Gorden Tallis and Cooper Cronk, the former Australian players, pointed to the influence Graham can have on moulding younger players.

“His best days have passed him...(but) he has been a great servant, he’s tough and he changed the way the front rowers play and he has left a big foot print on the NRL,” said Tallis, in reference to how Graham’s ability to take the ball to the line before passing modernised the prop forward position.

Cronk added: “Sometimes when you buy a guy who has had so much experience – more than 400 games in the Super League and the NRL he can actually fast track the development of rookies.

“You show them what it takes to prepare Monday to Friday what it takes to roll up the sleeves and put in the mouthguard.

"That kind of recruitment in terms of the person is actually a good discussion to have around your football club, particularly if you have some real class rookies coming.”

Speaking about his return, Graham reflected on being a “fan ever since I knew what rugby league was” and how he was on Saints’ books since the age of 11.

Saints’ young forwards who have come through the ranks, the likes of Matty Lees and Morgan Knowles, may be advised to grab a cappuccino with Graham now and again upon his return.

They should soak up his wisdom and make the most of learning from a master.