England Knights Head Coach Paul Anderson today (27 April) names a squad of 27 players, including three Saints, to prepare for international competition in 2021 and beyond.
Discussions around Knights fixtures for 2021 are underway and Anderson’s charges will also be joining sessions with Shaun Wane’s senior squad during the summer.
Players from nine Betfred Super League clubs are represented, with three of them, Matty Lees, Jack Welsby and Aaron Smith all named from St Helens.
Anderson wants to help all of them bridge the gap between domestic and senior international competition and says:
“Through the Knights programme we’re investing in the future of England Rugby League. The Knights is part of a performance pathway from schoolboy level upwards and I am excited about the prospect of working with the players who have reached this stage of their development. My job is to prepare them for the next step – the senior international team.
“People scrutinising the squad with a 1-17 scenario in mind will be wasting their time. In the Knights set up we’ll be focusing on helping players make the transition from domestic to international competition, which means exposing them to the critical differences between what they experience day-in and day-out with their clubs and what they can expect as England internationals. The Knights is about developing talent, preparing well and competing hard.
“For some players the chance to represent the senior side may come at RWLC2021, for others it might be 2025. Shaun is very clear about what he wants and expects from the Knights, and I’m very clear about supporting him.”
England Knights squad (* denotes new selection)
Matty Ashton, Rob Butler (both Warrington Wolves), Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons), Matty English (Huddersfield Giants), Joe Cator* (Hull FC), Ethan Havard (Wigan Warriors), Jordan Lane* (Hull FC), George Lawler (Hull KR), Matty Lees (St Helens), Kruise Leeming (Leeds Rhinos), Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors), Alex Mellor*, Mikolaj Oledzki (both Leeds Rhinos), Jacques O’Neill*(Castleford Tigers), Oliver Partington (Wigan Warriors), Danny Richardson (Castleford Tigers), Aaron Smith (St Helens), Cameron Smith (Leeds Rhinos), Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies (both Wigan Warriors), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves), Jake Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Matt Whitley (Catalans Dragons), Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants).