Jon Wells predicts his 2023 Man of Steel and hails Super League ‘roots’ as reason for England success

Sky Sports pundit Jon Wells believes Super League should be proud of its competition and players that have helped England excel so far at the Rugby League World Cup. 

Wells, who specialises in tactical analysis for Sky Sports during the season, believes the competitive roots of Super League have helped England shine on the world stage.

Speaking in his column on the Sky Sports website, Wells has credited the UK’s domestic competition while also giving his early tip for the 2023 Man of Steel award.

He said: “This has been a World Cup that has seen the emergence on the international stage of “new” stars – think Dom Young and the belated England debut for Marc Sneyd – as well as the continued and inexorably rising stock of St Helens’ wonderkid Jack Welsby (Man of Steel elect for 2023 – tipped now, remember that).

“As impressive as all have been, none have really been that surprising. For those who have watched Super League down the years, you will already know what a talent Marc Sneyd is, you would know that Jack Welsby is destined for the very very top, and you would’ve been aware of Dom Young’s magnificent performance for Yorkshire in the Academy Origin match at Castleford Tigers in April of 2019.”

Wells went on to credit the impact of the NRL players in the England squad but reverted his column back to Super League and how impactful it has been in allowing Shaun Wane’s side to show their class.

“The NRL is widely accepted as the pinnacle of the club game worldwide. The reasons for this are complex, varied and involve culture, money, talent pathways, participation numbers, and probably need a whole separate article to untangle – but it isn’t that the players are better.

“Super League is a fantastic competition which, in this World Cup cycle alone, has propelled Welsby, Sneyd, Joe Batchelor, Kai Pearce-Paul, Mikolaj Oledzki and Andy Ackers to an international stage on which they have all excelled.

“And they excel because they are excellent players, surrounded by other excellent players, and become an excellent team through the unwavering focus of a decorated and excellent coach who got here, and got them there, through the firing kiln that is Super League.

“The success of the England team has its roots in the competitive heat of Super League; the success of the latter enables the progress of the former. As sure as night follows day, a strong club competition means better representation on the international stage.”

You can read the full column from Jon Wells on the Sky Sports website here.

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