Paul Rowley says Salford Red Devils star “deserves” England call up

Salford’s 2022 campaign didn’t have the fairytale conclusion their fans dreamed it would, but it still has to be regarded as a huge success.

Most had the Red Devils as finishing 11th this year and they looked to be struggling around the midway point of the campaign, but Paul Rowley’s vision well and truly took effect with the Red Devils playing the best rugby in the league for the most part to claim a place in the Super League semi-finals where they were unlucky to lose to Champions St Helens.

In doing so, Rowley has raised the stock of a number of players certainly those in the spine for the Red Devils such as Andy Ackers.

Ackers has had a stunning season and was the Man of the Match in Salford’s play-off win over Huddersfield prior to that semi-final defeat.

Perhaps the league’s form nine at the end of the year, many have called on England boss Shaun Wane to select him for the World Cup especially with James Roby unlikely to come out of international retirement, Paul McShane and Daryl Clark missing out on the play-offs and Kruise Leeming currently being more of an impact sub than a starter at Leeds.

Now, his coach has backed him to get the call up saying he deserves it along with several others at the AJ Bell Stadium: “I think he will and I think he deserves it. I think we have several players who deserve it. Andy has been outstanding all year granted he’s gotten better as the year’s gone on.

“The call was he’d pick on form so.”

Ackers was a big part of the defeat to St Helens though he played very few minutes. He was lost to a Head Injury Assessment just two minutes into the game in a huge loss to the Red Devils. This exacerbated the loss of Brodie Croft going into the game and wasn’t the last head knock suffered by the Red Devils with Ken Sio also being forced off.

Rowley gave an update on the trio: “Croft was physically okay after five minutes that’s the annoying bit and that’s where with the NRL you can see a specialist. Same with Ackers but Ken’s not.”

This prompted Rowley to suggest a solution that would stop the best players missing the biggest games such as Aidan Sezer who will now miss the Grand Final for the same reasons Croft missed the semi-final: “It is a case of that because a player’s health and well being is paramount but what I would say is at this time of year lets stretch out the excitement and play the games 10 days apart and then you fix your problems straight away.

“It’s a bit quick, there’s no rush, build the excitement and get your best players out. Failing that maybe from Australia there’s a route to take if you get a specialist to clear them then it’s clear.

“The health of the player comes first.”

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