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Shaun Wane names 3 players who have given him a ‘selection headache’ for England

Shaun Wane

Following confirmation that England will face Samoa at the end of the season, head coach Shaun Wane has explained the three players who will give him a selection headache.

Fans had been pining for confirmation of the much-talked-about series against Samoa, something that finally happened earlier this week with the games against the 2021 World Cup Finalists confirmed for Wigan and Leeds later this year. The games will be played on the final weekend of October and the first weekend of November, two and three weeks after the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Despite only being a two-game series, it’s still something to look forward to and Super League fans will be eager to see if their club’s players are selected or not.

For plenty of positions though, there will be lots of competition for places and Shaun Wane has now told The Sportsman which position could be most hotly contested.

Super League Quiz: How many of these former players can you name?

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Half-back contest hotting up explains Shaun Wane

Credit: Imago Images

The two playmakers in the halves will be the most competitive spot to be fought out with it looking set to be a two-way shootout between Harry Smith and Mikey Lewis in order to play alongside captain George Williams.

The pair played together for the first two tests in 2023 against Tonga with George Williams banned before Smith would then partner the Warrington star for the final test, suggesting that the Wigan man is in the driving seat.

Talking on The Sportsman YouTube channel, Shaun Wane explained just how much quality he has to select from, stating: “There’s no doubt about that. I mean, George played in one game, but he’s my captain and he’s a great player is George.

“I think Harry and Mikey have acquitted themselves, both of themselves, unbelievably well in terms of how they handled the camp as well. It’s not only playing games, it’s the amount of time spent together.

“You need to be a certain sort of person and both of them players and many others have acquitted themselves really well.”

Inside Wane’s World: How England camps are run…

Shaun Wane

Credit: Imago Images

With international games being so scarce it can be hard to create a culture that is knitted together but it certainly seems that Shaun Wane has managed that and he revealed what was key to that, claiming that enjoyment and pride are paramount to his camps.

He argued: “I want the players to enjoy it. Playing for England has to be an enjoyable pleasure. We’re all proud Englishmen and I include Victor Radley and people like that in that.

“So when we get together it’s not just all about really pushing the players out, it’s enjoying our time together and the spirit we had celebrating after the third test when we won it 3-0, it was like a group of friends.”

A lack of togetherness has historically hampered England in team sports, most notably football during the ‘Golden Generation’ that saw the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Scholes fail to combine, whereas during Leeds Rhinos ‘Golden Generation’, there was a clear split in the England team between them and other contenders such as St Helens and Wigan Warriors.

Those Super League rivalries still and will always exist but Shaun Wane seems to have this new generation of England player clicking against their domestic rivals when it comes to pulling on the national team shirt, something fans will get to see in two weeks against France and later in the year against Samoa.

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