With the World Cup approaching at the end of 2021, there are already debates circulating about who will be in Shaun Wane’s thinking. Here are the top five contenders to take the number 11 and 12 England shirts.
A standout for Canberra since joining in 2016, Elliott Whitehead will be 32 when the World Cup rolls around, but that won’t stop the back-rower being at the top of his game. With the ability to always play well for his national side, Whitehead should be given one of the starting second-row berths.
Though given the number 13 shirt by Wigan, John Bateman is best known for his dynamic running on the edges, making him the perfect candidate to occupy one of the second-row spots. Bateman went up another gear in 2020, but a home reunion with Wigan could see him play the best rugby of his life in 2021 and beyond.
He had a little foray into the international scene with Great Britain on the ill-fated Lions tour of 2019, but Jack Hughes will be aiming to make it big with England in 2021. Having gone from strength-to-strength with Warrington on a club level, a call-up should just around the corner.
Another one of Warrington’s stars, Ben Currie has been one of the most impressive back-rowers in Super League for the past few years. However, serious injury problems have hindered his international career, but 2021 might finally be the year that Currie is able to deliver.
Narrowly missed out on the Man of Steel award in 2020, but Liam Farrell will always be Wigan’s most consistent player no matter what. Still only 30 years of age, Farrell is restricted by the fact that the back-row position is so heavily inundated with class, but if he repeats last season’s heroics, he could push himself into contention. Plus, his Wigan connection with Wane could help.