It’s hard to remember a time when there were as many outstanding young English players knocking around.
Almost every club in Super League has an outstanding young talent in their squad who in years to come could develop into shining stars of Super League and even the NRL.
So, it stands to reason that the England team at the end of this decade could be one of the best we’ve ever seen. With that in mind, we’ve picked what we think could be the England team which takes to the field in 2030.
Fullback: Jack Welsby
Jack Welsby has already won a Grand Final singlehandedly before picking up the Young Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022. He registered double figures for assists whilst maintaining the try scoring element of his game in 2022. He’s certain to be an England international for many years and could be England’s main player at fullback.
Wingers: Lewis Murphy and Dom Young
Dom Young has already proven he can be a top player in the NRL at the start of this season. One of the league’s fastest players, his huge frame means he can blend speed with power and he has a great finishing ability as well. We saw during the World Cup that he will be an England international for years to come. On the other wing we may have just seen the emergence of possibly England’s next great winger in Lewis Murphy at Wakefield. Watching him is like watching a young Tom Johnstone such is his speed, agility and finishing ability. Players like Jon Bennison at St Helens and Jason Qareqare – should he choose to represent England over Fiji – could also be potential candidates on the wing.
Centres: Harry Newman and Herbie Farnworth
Like Dom Young, Herbie Farnworth has become one of the best performers in the NRL at the start of the season and underlined that at this year’s World Cup. The perfect modern centre with speed, strength and skill he could become a legend of the international side. As could Harry Newman. The Leeds centre has a real explosivity to his game and is very adept in attack and defence. Should he get over his injury struggles, he could become one of the best centres we’ve seen play for England.
Halfbacks: Will Pryce and Lewis Dodd
This was a really difficult chose. Will Pryce for starters may be considered more of a fullback by 2030 with that being the position Ian Watson intends to develop him in. Even so, players of Welsby’s and Pryce’s quality have to be included in the international side so one may have to play out of position. But Pryce’s inclusion came at the expense of outstanding young halfbacks like Jake Trueman, Mikey Lewis and Rowan Milnes all of whom will likely wear an England jersey at some point in their careers. The halfback I chose alongside Pryce was Lewis Dodd. Already a Grand Final winner, he somehow managed to stand out in a star studded St Helens side before his injury last year. His running and kicking game is second to none already. If he returns from injury with the same quality, he could become one of the best halfbacks in Super League history.
Props: Mikolaj Oledzki and Matty Lees
Matty Lees has become a serial winner and is learning under the best prop in the league in the shape of Alex Walmsley. Already a very good prop, he’s only going to get better as he matures and will likely bring a real winning mentality to the England pack. Mikolaj Oledzki meanwhile could develop into the league’s next best prop. Explosive and hard working, he is the ideal modern prop and like Lees will only get better.
Hooker: Danny Walker
Danny Walker has already played so much rugby that you forget he’s still so young. Lightning out of dummyhalf, he’s learning under one of the best nines in the business in Daryl Clark which will help him mature his game and grow adept at organising. If he can, that blended with speed will cause any defence problems. He gets the nod just ahead of another young hooker with bags of experience in Jez Litten as well as Cain Robb who has shown great potential learning under Paul McShane.
Second-Rowers: Morgan Gannon and Kai Pearce-Paul
Kai Pearce-Paul is sheer quality. The gangly Wigan youngster is headed to the NRL in 2024 and is determined to show his quality at second-row and based on his potential he may be in a position where he simply he has to be picked by 2030. His offload game could also catch teams out down the middle. As for Morgan Gannon he’s only 19 but plays like a 29-year-old. Mature in his approach to the middle battle, he makes breaks again and again as well as crunching tackles and has recently added try scoring to his growing game.
Loose-Forward: Victor Radley
Victor Radley is currently one of the best 13 in the world and cemented in the England side and that’s likely to be the case over the next decade. The ideal modern 13 with tremendous work rate mixed with skill and strength, he will lead this side from 13.
Substitutes: Jez Litten, Ellis Longstaff, Morgan Knowles, Tom Holroyd
Jez Litten, like Danny Walker, is a young hooker people tend to assume he’s older than he is. Lively like Walker, both could dovetail nicely. Meanwhile, Ellis Longstaff was Warrington’s breakout star of 2021 and is a battling backrower who will help lift the intensity. He impressed at Hull FC in 2022 and is set to do the same with Salford Red Devils in 2023. In Tom Holroyd Super League has a young prop who has the potential to develop into a great front rower moving forward. He’d add some explosivity to this bench. Meanwhile, Morgan Knowles is so good in some ways he should be guaranteed a starting spot.