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 13 England shirt.
A second-rower by nature, John Bateman has been handed the number 13 shirt by his club Wigan, taking over the responsibility from the retired Sean O’Loughlin. That could almost mean a sure passage through to the England side for the World Cup.
After enduring a less-than successful spell at Hull, Josh Jones has made the move to Huddersfield to reunite with Ian Watson. It’s a move that could propel Jones into the England reckoning. But, with the second-row spots looking out of reach, it’s loose forward which looks the most available.
Perhaps more of an impact player off the bench, Joe Philbin is one of the most improved players in Super League. A devastating runner and rock solid in defence, he would be an added forward at 13, but that’s what could be needed against the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.
It’s a move that will confuse some people, but Stefan Ratchford can play anywhere in a side and do it to an incredible level. With the number one shirt heavily contested and the halfback positions also inundated with class, the number 13 could suit Ratchford’s elusive running and superb passing game.
A prop by nature, Luke Thompson could play anywhere in the forward pack and be destructive. If Wane wants to go with firepower then the Canterbury Bulldog could add extra bite at 13, also giving Thompson the freedom to roam more around the edges.