England coach Steve McNamara has included Warrington Wolves centre Ryan Atkins and Hull FC back row forward Danny Tickle in his squad for the forthcoming International Origin opener against the Exiles at Langtree Park, St Helens on Saturday June 16 (6.45pm).
Atkins, who has not played for England since October 2010 in a defeat to Australia in Melbourne, returns to the squad after impressing McNamara in recent weeks with some strong performances in the Stobart Super League is joined in the squad by the other non Elite Training Squad member Tickle whose last international cap came in 2009 in victory over Wales at Brewery Field, Bridgend.
“I have been impressed with Ryan (Atkins) and Danny’s (Tickle) form in recent weeks,” said McNamara.
“They have worked hard to force their way into the squad and now have an opportunity of being part of the Elite Training Squad for the rest of this year and beyond.
“It was a difficult process to select the squad that will face the Exiles. There are considerably more than 21 players in the Stobart Super League that could quite easily have been part of our plans and that is testament to the quality we have in the competition.”
The 21-man squad includes 10 players who were involved in the 2011 Gillette Four Nations and four players who are uncapped by England, including Leeds Rhinos utility player Carl Ablett and Wigan Warriors in-form speedster Josh Charnley.
From the original ETS squad selected in March, 12 players have not been selected including Warrington prop Adrian Morley, Leeds’ Ryan Bailey and Catalan Dragons hooker Ian Henderson. ETS members Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Jones-Bishop (Leeds Rhinos) and Jonny Lomax (St Helens) have been selected in the England Knights squad that will play Ireland preceding the International Origin match at Langtree Park.
“We have a number of players who are injured (Danny McGuire, Kallum Watkins, Ben Westwood and Kirk Yeaman) that haven’t been considered for selection this time,” added McNamara.
“For the other players that have missed out, the door is still open and it is important that they continue to work hard in the domestic competition with a view to getting back in the squad.
“It is a pleasing situation to be in. We have competition for places right across the team and every player knows that they have to perform week in, week out if they are going to be part of the England programme.
“Every match counts as we continue the build-up to next year’s Rugby League World Cup and with the increasing number of high quality players emerging across Super League, and not forgetting our Australian based players in the NRL, we have a bright future at international level.”
The squad will meet up at their Loughborough base on Monday and McNamara will announce his team to face the Exiles next Thursday.
England squad to face the Exiles at Langtree Park, Saturday June 16, kick off 6.45pm, in full is:
(Professional club and community club in brackets):
Carl Ablett Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Parkside
Ryan Atkins Warrington Wolves, Stanningley
Tom Briscoe Hull FC, Featherstone Lions
Danny Brough Huddersfield Giants, Eastmoor Dragons
Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions
Garreth Carvell Warrington Wolves, Stanningley
Josh Charnley Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Rangi Chase Castleford Tigers, Dannevirke Tigers
Eorl Crabtree Huddersfield Giants, Huddersfield YMCA
Leroy Cudjoe Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers
Ryan Hall Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders
Gareth Hock Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Judes
Jamie Jones-Buchanan Leeds Rhinos, Stanningley
Lee Mossop Wigan Warriors, Hensingham
Sean O’Loughlin Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Jamie Peacock (captain) Leeds Rhinos, Stanningley
James Roby St Helens, Blackbrook
Kevin Sinfield Leeds Rhinos, Waterhead
Danny Tickle Hull FC, Golborne Parkside
Sam Tomkins Wigan Warriors. Wigan St Patricks
Jon Wilkin St Helens, East Hull
England Knights Squad to face Ireland at Langtree Park, Saturday June 16, kick off 4.30pm, in full is:
(Professional club and community club in brackets):
Jodie Broughton Salford City Reds, Queens
Chris Clarkson Leeds Rhinos, East Leeds
Paul Clough St Helens, Blackbrook
Mike Cooper Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion
Rhys Evans Warrington Wolves, Burtonwood Bulldogs
Liam Farrell Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats
Dale Ferguson Huddersfield Giants, Featherstone Lions
Mark Flanagan St Helens, Saddleworth Rangers
Lee Gaskell St Helens, Blackbrook
Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions
Josh Hodgson Hull KR, Hull Dockers
Danny Houghton Hull FC, East Hull
Ben Jones-Bishop Leeds Rhinos, Queens
Jonny Lomax St Helens, Orrell St James
Shaun Lunt Leeds Rhinos, Ellenborough Rangers
Jermaine McGillvary Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors
Larne Patrick Huddersfield Giants, Townville Tigers
Stefan Ratchford Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks
Chris Riley Warrington Wolves, Woolston Rovers
Matty Smith Salford City Reds, Blackbrook
Scott Taylor Hull KR, Skirlaugh
Liam Watts Hull KR, Featherstone Lions
Gary Wheeler St Helens, Blackbrook Royals
Tickets for the opening International Origin Game of 2012 at Langtree Park, St Helens, on Saturday June 16 (6.45pm) cost from £18 (£9 concessions) for standing and £21 (£10 concessions) seating and are available at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by contacting the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.