Six contenders to be England captain

With the World Cup approaching at the end of 2021, the predictions of how Shaun Wane’s England side will line up continue to roll out. 

But, just who is likely to take the captain’s armband following the retirement of Sean O’Loughlin?

George Williams

Wane has already thrown down the gauntlet to Williams to be more vocal in a bid to potentially become skipper of the national side. The 26-year-old matured greatly in his first season at Canberra as the Raiders narrowly missed out on a Grand Final spot, partnering Jack Wighton masterfully in the halves. With Wane being a former Wigan boss too, it could work in Williams’ favour.

Liam Farrell

One of Wigan’s most consistent players, Farrell has what it takes to make the step up to captain England. Always leading from the front, the fair-haired Wiganer was nominated for the Man of Steel in 2020 after yet another stellar season in the cherry-and-white. At 30, too, his mature head could be vital.

James Roby

If Roby gets chosen – and it’s a big if with the likes of Josh Hodgson, Daryl Clark and Paul McShane waiting in the wings – the 35-year-old will be a crucial asset around the ruck. As St Helens captain, the number nine has helped steer his side to consecutive Grand Final victories, proving his mettle on the big stage.

John Bateman

It would be a massive risk if Bateman is chosen as captain, but it’s one that could also pay off handsomely. A two-year stint in the NRL led to a huge rise in his stock as he became one of Canberra’s most devastating players. Of course, there’s also the bonus that Wane will not play him in the centres either like his predecessor Wayne Bennett.

Elliott Whitehead

Once a hot-headed Bradford man, Whitehead has become an ever-present for Canberra since moving Down Under in 2016. Over 100 NRL appearances later and the second-rower shows no sign of letting up. At 31, his experience could be crucial for Wane’s men.

Sam Tomkins

Yet another ex-Wigan connection, but Sam Tomkins proved in 2020 that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level, whether or not that would be good enough to be handed the captaincy remains to be seen. But, Wane knows the fullback inside out and may well entrust him with the main title.

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