We are developing in collaboration with how each nation could line up ahead of the World Cup he can play. This week it’s England!
In these weekly feature pieces, we pick our predicted side to represent England. This can include players who were born in that country, have an heir to the nation, or even are a resident.
The first 11 were France, Jamaica, cook islands, fiji, Ireland, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Greece, Italy, Lebanon and Scotland. Now it’s time for England…
How England could compete at the World Cup
1. Sam Tomkins
Tomkins is considered England’s world number one after captaining his country in the recent 18-4 win over the Combined Nations All Stars.
The 33-year-old former Man of Steel has been in fine form for the Catalans Dragons this season. With more than 300 performances in his career, Tomkins will bring a wealth of experience to Shaun Wane’s side this fall.
Tomkins: Captaining England at the World Cup would be a career highlight
Makinson has been a standout winger in the Super League for a number of years. The St Helens winger is currently leading points in the Super League this season.
Makinson only made his England debut in 2018, so he could play in his first World Cup this year.
3. Herbie Farnworth
The Brisbane Broncos center has been out since June with a bicep injury but England are hoping he will be available for the World Cup.
Lancashire native Farnworth has scored 19 tries in 53 games for the Broncos. It would be a huge boost for England if he were back in time for the World Cup.
4. Harry Newman
Newman has already played more than 50 games for Leeds despite being just 22 years old.
He has won international awards with the England Knights but is yet to make his senior debut. Could that happen at this year’s World Cup?
Hall is one of the most experienced players in this line-up, having won 38 caps for England and scoring 35 tries.
The 34-year-old Hull KR winger could play in his third World Cup later this year.
ANIMAL: Ryan Hall on not having plans to retire and his World Cup goal with England
6. Jonny Lomax
Lomax has been a mainstay of the St Helens team since its debut in 2009. The three-time Grand Final winner has scored 121 tries in 286 games for Saints.
Lomax have won a total of 11 caps for Great Britain and England. He played at the last World Cup in 2017.
Is this Williams’ time to shine in an England shirt? He has been in and around the England squad since 2015 and has won 11 caps.
The Warrington half-back is a constant threat to opposing defenses with his tricky footwork. He will be key if England are to have a successful World Cup campaign.
8. Luke Thompson
Thompson has impressed in the NRL since joining Canterbury Bulldogs in 2020.
The 27-year-old powerhouse will play in his first World Cup this year. He won two Super League titles with St Helens.
The St Helens legend actually announced his retirement from the national team last September after the World Cup was postponed by a year.
But his exceptional level of performance has been maintained at club level, although 2022 is expected to be his last season as a player.
There has been a lot of talk about Roby returning to England to play at the World Cup. He’s still one of the best hookers in the world.
ROBY: If he’s fit, he’ll play – Tomkins backs Roby for the U-turn at the World Cup
Burgess has had a phenomenal career to date. He played two seasons in the Super League with Bradford before joining NRL team South Sydney Rabbitohs, where he has played more than 200 games since then.
The 30-year-old has 25 caps for his country and will be playing his third World Cup this year.
11. Elliot Whitehead
Bradfordian Whitehead has been a mainstay in the England camp since making his international debut in 2014. He was also part of the Great Britain squad in 2019.
The Canberra Raiders forward will bring plenty of experience to Wane, having played more than 350 career games.
12. John Bateman
Bateman is a player who has had success in both hemispheres. The Bradfordian has won two Super League titles, a World Club Challenge and a Challenge Cup with Wigan.
The 28-year-old has 17 caps for England and four for Great Britain.
Sydney-born Radley has pledged his allegiance to England ahead of the World Cup as he wants to represent his Sheffield-born father Nigel.
The 24-year-old has sacrificed playing in his country of origin and for Australia by declaring for England. Radley plays with a lot of passion and desire and will no doubt fit right into Wane’s style.
14. Mickey McIlorum
McIlorum could play his fourth World Cup this fall. He has represented his Irish heritage in two tournaments and could play in his second for birth nation England this year.
It’s no secret that Wane is a huge admirer of his former Wigan hooker, McIlorum. The Catalans Dragons star featured in England’s most recent win against the Combined Nations All Stars.
15. Alex Walmsley
We benched Walmsley in our line-up purely for the impact he could have if he comes on mid-game when the opposition are tired.
The 6ft 5in, 18 stone powerhouse has become a cult hero over his 10 seasons at St Helens, where he has won four Super League titles and a Challenge Cup.
Born in Barrow, Knowles played for Wales at the last World Cup in 2017. Representing his Welsh roots, he qualified through his Rhondda-born mother’s account.
But the St Helens forward joined his native England in 2020. The following year he made his England debut against the Combined Nations All Stars.
The beauty of having Knowles on the bench is that he can play anywhere in the forward pack. If necessary, he can even play hooker.
Adrian Morley: Morgan Knowles has been a leader in England for many years
17. Matty Lees
Last spot on our bench goes to Lees, who has matured into one of the best front rowers in the Super League in recent years.
Though only 24, Lees has won three Grand Finals and played more than 100 games for champions St. Helens. The Rochdale-born forward made his England debut earlier this year.
Thanks to He Can Play For for their collaboration, you can follow them Twitter and Instagram.
PODCAST: Alex Walmsley on NRL rejection, World Cup pressure and John Kear influence
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