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England selection headache sees Shaun Wane ‘up until 4am’

Yesterday saw Shaun Wane confirm the 24 man England squad that will take on Tonga in the three match end of season series and Wane’s revealed the difficulty of narrowing the squad down, explaining he was up until “about four o’clock” before finally settling on the group.

The three match test series will be the first in which a ‘tier two nation’, such as Tonga, have toured England for a true test series as opposed to a one off game, but such is the strength of Tonga now that it’s thoroughly earnt on their part.

Led by former St Helens boss Kristian Woolf and with three Super League stars in their squad they will provide England with their first taste of international action since the World Cup semi-final heartbreak almost one year ago.

That day saw England fall short of the final by a Stephen Crichton drop goal but Wane’s men are back on English soil and with a point to prove against the touring Tongans.

Such is the depth of England’s talent at the moment that players such as Leeds Rhinos’ Cam Smith haven’t been selected, nor has Super League’s joint top try scorer Josh Charnley.

They likely may have been among the difficult decisions that saw Wane up until 4am selecting his final squad, the England boss confirming his late night work to the press.

Asked when he settled on the squad, Wane replied: “No, this morning about four o’clock. It’s been pretty hectic since the Grand Final and the semis the week before.

“It’s been full on, but the clubs have been great in how they’ve dealt with us and they’ve been very open and transparent, and Chris Brookes has done a great job, so I’m happy with the players we’ve got.”

That’s seen a number of players pull out or be left out through injury such as Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley and Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Jake Wardle.

Regardless though there’s a plethora of talent to select from, although Wane is still of the belief that there is always room for improvement.

He spoke on the talent coming through: “I’d never be happy with what we’ve got, I think we can always improve and get players playing in various positions and it just shows you that the quality is getting better but it has to carry on improving because we need the talent pool, like again the NRL is another level over there and that’s what we need to aim for.”

England’s squad features five players who have travelled over from the NRL, whilst all but three of Tonga’s squad have made the journey across from down under.

England’s Squad to face Tonga

Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves)

John Bateman (Wests Tigers)

Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)

Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)

Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors)

Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)

Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants)

Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons)

Toby King (Wigan Warriors)

Morgan Knowles (St Helens)

Matty Lees (St Helens)

Mikey Lewis (Hull KR)

Tommy Makinson (St Helens)

Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons)

Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards)

Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos)

Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters)

Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)

Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves)

Jack Welsby (St Helens)

Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)

George Williams (Warrington Wolves)

Dom Young (Newcastle Knights)

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