SIX St Helens scholarship players have earned a call-up to the 2011 England Youth squad which will see the country’s top young Rugby League players play Test matches against France and Wales.
Oliver Davies, Andre Savelio, Lewis Galbraith, Ben Parry, Greg Richards and Kane Ditchfield have all earned the opportunity to represent their country alongside eight players from Wigan Warriors, seven Leeds Rhinos, six Hull FC, three Harlequins RL, three Warrington Wolves, three Bradford Bulls, two Castleford Tigers and one Hull KR player.
The Youth side are coached by Dave Elliott, who recently led the England Academy to a famous series victory over the Australian Schoolboys and he is hoping for similar success with the Under-16s against European opposition in 2011.
“It’s early doors for these guys,” said Elliott. “There are 17 who were in the squad last year and they showed some potential so it will be interesting to see how they perform 12 months down the line.
“It’s will also be good to see how the newcomers handle the step up from community clubs and scholarship programmes to international level and how they all progress during the season.”
England Youth will play a two-Test series against France along with proposed Tests against Wales during the 2011 season and Elliott believes the recent success of the England Academy can help spur the Youth side on.
“I’m hoping the Academy success against Australia will be a catalyst for these younger guys,” said Elliott. “They have seen what can be achieved with hard work.
“The Academy side worked hard all season, both on and off the field, to improve themselves as players and as people and that is the message we want to send to the Youth side that hard work can be rewarded by playing for England and gaining international success.
“Only one member of that Academy side wasn’t on a full-time contract and that is a big incentive for the Youth players.
“We’ve got systems in place to help give the players the tools to develop both mentally and physically and enable them to become better players which we hope will translate to International success come 2013 and 2017.”
England Youth 39-man Squad:
Alex Abbott-Tavener (Harlequins RL) Jack Anderson (Hull FC) Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds Rhinos) Josh Casey (Bradford Bulls) Oliver Davies (St Helens) Bradley Day (Leeds Rhinos) Jake Dehal Clark (Castleford Tigers) Kyle Dempsey (Wigan Warriors) Zak Dewhirst (Warrington Wolves) Kane Ditchfield (St. Helens) Lewis Galbraith (St. Helens) Gabriel Gatu (Hull FC) Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors) Jordan Harper (Leeds Rhinos) Ali Ibrahim (Hull FC) Joe Keyes (Harlequins RL) Ryan Langton (Hull FC) Bradley Lawrence (Wigan Warriors) Michael Learmonth (Leeds Rhinos) Scott Lee (Leeds Rhinos) Arron Lewczenko (Wigan Warriors) Harry Lightfoot Brown (Harlequins RL) Jack Logan (Hull FC) Ryan Maneely (Warrington Wolves) Matthew Marsh (Hull KR) Alex Mellor (Bradford Bulls) William Milner (Warrington Wolves) Curtis Naughton (Bradford Bulls) Ben Parry (St Helens) Greg Richards (St Helens) Andre Savelio (St Helens) Jake Shorrocks (Wigan Warriors) Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) Connor Taylor (Castleford Tigers) Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors) Bobby Tyson-Wilson (Hull FC) Ben White (Leeds Rhinos) George Williams (Wigan Warriors)