England’s record-breaking forward James Graham was given more inspiration ahead of his 40th appearance for his country when he caught up with one of his Everton heroes.

Maghull-born Graham, in Denver for Saturday night’s Test match against New Zealand, met ex-Everton and USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, who now plays for MLS side Colorado Rapids.

“Tim was brilliant in his time at Everton,” said Graham, the former St Helens prop who now plays for NRL club St George Illawarra.

“I always remember the letter he wrote to the Everton fans when he left and thinking about it still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

“It was a real privilege to meet him and the other lads from the Rapids ahead of the Test match at Mile High Stadium.”

Howard, whose heroics with America in the 2014 World Cup earned him a trip to the White House, said: “My first introduction to rugby was when I moved to England and I used to love watching games on the television.

“These guys are so big and strong, it is crazy how they put the big hits on each other. I would like to wish James and the England boys the best of luck for the game and we look forward to welcoming them back to Colorado again soon.”