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5 surprise players predicted to be in Shaun Wane’s England squad today

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Shaun Wane is set to confirm the England squad that will take on France this weekend with an announcement expected this afternoon and it’s widely expected that he will name a very young squad.

Wane has expressed that this game is to be used to prepare younger players for the future with the World Cup in 2026 on the horizon as well an expected Ashes series next year. With those events in mind, the England head coach has stated he will name a young side with lots of inexperience.

He has also noted that players such as George Williams and Jack Welsby have “credit in the bank”, potentially hinting that both men won’t feature in the game on Saturday evening. They would be expected to be named in the squad though as Wane continues to try and continue the positive feeling he’s manufactured around camp.

With plenty of debutants expected, after Wane named 15 for this fixture last year, we’ve analysed five men who could be surprise selections when the squad is announced this afternoon at 3 pm.

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Five surprise players that could be named in the England squad

Luke Thompson – Wigan Warriors

England

Credit: Imago Images

Thompson is a strange name to have on a surprise list given his incredible pedigree but given how many young props are available and Wane’s stated intention to promote youth, he could have been expected not to be selected.

The reason why he should be selected though is the fact he’s among the best in the game and despite his vast experience, including his time in the NRL, he is still only 29 years old, meaning he’ll be 31 and in his prime for the World Cup in 2026.

Another key reason to integrate him into the squad comes down to the fact he has been in the NRL, meaning he’s had less face time with the rest of the squad. His selection will see him strengthen those connections and also offer a natural leader to some of the younger props expected to be named.

Sam Walters – Wigan Warriors

England Sam Walters

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Another Wigan man who could be called up is Sam Walters, the second-row forward who has struggled with injury so far this season. Walters signed ahead of the season from Leeds Rhinos but has played a limited number of games for Matt Peet’s side.

He has made just three appearances but they have been the three most recent games and he’s impressed in those outings. The fact that he’s just 23 means Wane will almost certainly be viewing him as part of his England squad for the future, making his selection a savvy one.

Jack Broadbent – Hull KR

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This would be a big wildcard selection but Jack Broadbent has certainly put himself in the frame to be selected and his versatility helps with that. Broadbent can play anywhere across the backline and with injuries to centres and wingers currently, it means he’s got a chance of a call-up.

Since switching to Hull KR, the former Cas man has scored four tries in six games, operating on both the wing and at centre. With both Ash Handley and Harry Newman suffering concussions of late, it could be that there’s a spot for the 22-year-old in this squad.

Zach Eckersley – Wigan Warriors

Zach Eckersley Challenge Cup Final England

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Another young centre who has a chance at a maiden call-up is Zach Eckersley, a 20-year-old who has already proven himself on the biggest stage with his try in the Challenge Cup Final. The centre has played just a handful of games for Wigan but after Adam Keighran’s suspension, he took his chance and has seized it.

He’s also set for a longer run of games with Adam Keighran potentially set to move into the halves to help cover for Bevan French who has replaced the injured Jai Field at full-back. That could spell more game time for the centre who Shaun Wane has previously spoken admirably of, even mentioning that he can play on the wing.

Tom Davies – Catalans Dragons

Credit: Imago Images

There could be a first England call-up since 2021 for Tom Davies with the Catalans winger flying in 2024 despite the fact his side have been lacking in creativity and consistency in their spine. Davies has scored 10 tries so far this season with seven coming in his 12 Super League appearances.

Another former Wigan man, he has a connection with Shaun Wane and given the current injury status of Ash Handley, Adam Swift and Tommy Makinson, it means Davies could be called upon.

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