England coach Shaun Wane explains why injured Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman is in his latest squad - and offers hope to Castleford Tigers' Jake Trueman and Liam Watts

England coach Shaun Wane says it would have been unfair to leave Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman out of his latest squad.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 6:00 am

Newman, along with teammates Ash Handley and Luke Gale, is among 35 players invited to a training session at Leeds Beckett University next Tuesday.

The 21-year-old is the reigning Betfred Super League player of the year, but has been sidelined since breaking a leg last September.

Explaining his decision to include Newman, who is around a month away from a comeback, Wane said: “He was in great form, then he had a bad injury.

England coach Shaun Wane with the World Cup at Newcastle's St James's Park where the opening game will be played in 199 days' time. Picture by SWpix.com.

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“He is going to be good for the World Cup so I thought it was the right thing to leave him in.

“He is a quality player, that’s how I view it; it wasn’t right to leave him out because he was injured.”

Next week's training session will mark the start of preparations for a game against Combined Nations All Stars in June.

Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone and Castleford full-back Niall Evalds and hooker Paul McShane are included, but there is no place for Tigers stand-off Jake Trueman.

However, Wane said there will be changes before England’s opening game, against Samoa on October 23 and insisted he has been impressed with Trueman’s form so far this season.

Tigers’ Liam Watts is another player likely to come into contention for the tournament.

Wane admitted prop is one area he would like “a bit more strength in depth” and he said: “I left Liam Watts and [Warrington Wolves’] Chris Hill out in November.

“They are both fantastic players, they both played well at the weekend. I would imagine they will both come back in. I just need to see improvement in certain parts of their game."

Wane confirmed he will be keeping a close eye on 18-year-old half-back Sam Walker who made his NRL debut for Sydney Roosters last weekend.

Walker was born in Leeds when his father Ben played for Rhinos during the 2002 season.

The squad in full is: John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie (all Warrington Wolves), Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Luke Gale (Leeds Rhinos), Oliver Gildart (Wigan), Josh Griffin (Hull FC), Ash Handley (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Wigan), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Toby King (Warrington), Morgan Knowles, Jonny Lomax (both St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Paul McShane (Castleford), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Dom Manfredi (Wigan), Harry Newman (Leeds), Mark Percival (St Helens), Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (both Warrington), James Roby (St Helens), Dan Sarginson (Salford Red Devils), Ryan Sutton (Canberra), Luke Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Salford), Elliott Whitehead, George Williams (both Canberra).