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Five Super League stars who were unlucky not to get an England call-up from Shaun Wane

Shaun Wane named his England training squad yesterday for the first time in 2022.

With a view in mind to the Rugby League World Cup at the end of 2022, Wane named 30 players from Super League sides including eight from St Helens.

However, there were a few players that could count themselves unlucky not to get called-up. Here are five of those.

Jake Connor

A week after assisting six tries and scoring one effort in Hull FC’s demolition of Salford, Jake Connor was snubbed by Wane in favour of Sam Tomkins, Niall Evalds and Stefan Ratchford. Though his consistency has been called into question, there is no disputing Connor’s quality and he would benefit greatly from the England environment. His versatility is also second to none and can play centre or halfback as well which would offer Wane another outlet. It will be interesting to see if Connor has a stellar season whether or not he would earn a place in the World Cup squad.

Tom Johnstone

With Ryan Hall and Jermaine McGillvary earning a recall to the England set-up, Tom Johnstone can find himself aggrieved not to have been called up. With incredible pace and a superb work ethic, the Wakefield Trinity winger doesn’t play for the most stylish Super League club, but that has enabled him to stand out and become one of the most potent attacking threats in the competition. It’s up to Johnstone to prove to Wane that he made the wrong decision in not giving him a chance.

Gareth Widdop

With George Williams earning a place in the side, it’s surprising that his Warrington Wolves halfback partner Gareth Widdop has been left out. Starting the 2022 season well, Widdop’s partnership with Williams is blossoming and it would have been interesting to see how the duo fared in the England set-up together. Crucial to Warrington’s chances of reaching the Grand Final in 2022, the halfback knows how to win big games so will need to impress throughout the season as Wane keeps a beady eye on proceedings this year.

Joe Philbin

Ever the enforcer, Joe Philbin has started the 2022 Super League season in great form, but that hasn’t been enough to impress Wane. Under new head coach Daryl Powell at Warrington, Philbin looks in a mood to go one better in 2022, so it was perhaps surprising that he missed out on an England spot. Always one to take up the ball with vim and vigour, Philbin would be a brilliant asset against the bigger teams in the World Cup.

Joe Westerman

He’s been the only bright spark to come out of a dismal season for the Castleford Tigers so far, building on his special season with Wakefield Trinity in 2021. There is no real ball-handling loose-forward in the England squad and none that are like another halfback in the side. Westerman’s strength is he is a halfback in a forward’s body and would offer Shaun Wane a completely different outlet to what is currently in the squad.

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