Paul Rowley has unique say on whether Salford Red Devils hooker Andy Ackers should play for England

When you ask most coaches in Super League whether their in form players should be considered for an England call-up, they usually take one of two routes.

Some really push for their player to make the England squad their terrific performances whilst others acknowledge the form of their player but wash their hands of it saying it’s in the hands of Shaun Wane as England boss.

However, Paul Rowley took a slightly unique route when he was posed one of these questions after Salford’s win over Huddersfield this weekend to move on to the Super League semi-finals against Champions St Helens.

This came after it was again suggested that Salford hooker Andy Ackers, who scored a stunning solo try in the win over the Giants to book a semi-final spot, should be in England contention after some of his amazing performances.

However, instead of saying the decision was in the hands of Shaun Wane or launching into a speech on why Ackers should be selected, Rowley asked the journalists present to make their feelings known: “I thought he did a few weeks. I’m hoping you guys find the column inches to write about it yourself because I feel like dad’s throwing his son in there with me and Ackers.”

So, here’s my few inches on Ackers as requested by Rowley.

Shaun Wane promised he’d be picking on form, and right now Salford – alongside Leeds – are the form team in Super League and Ackers is certainly the form nine.

That is not to discredit the likes of Michael McIlorum and Kruise Leeming, but Ackers is the one in a real purple patch at the moment. He’s also a very modern hooker with the way he plays the game at speed blending a smart passing range with a devastating running game.

This is the way modern rugby around the ruck is played and would absolutely be a useful asset in the World Cup.

Salford in many ways could be a blueprint for England. The Red Devils are not the biggest side yet use skill and speed to match them which Ackers is central to. Against big teams like Australia, Ackers could be vital.

Ackers will also be vital to Salford on Saturday against St Helens as he comes up against the player Paul Rowley believes is the greatest in Super League history: “James Roby has been the best player to grace Super League in my opinion.

“I think for Andy Ackers, all he’s going to concentrate on is himself. Full respect given but our player will play his game and we won’t be judged on anything other than that.”

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