Super League is currently full of exciting young talents. Whether it’s versatile backs, promising stand-offs, explosive props or elusive wingers Super League clubs seem to be producing it all at the moment. Quite rightly, plenty are excited for the future especially if these starlets can be moulded into the next great England team. With that in mind, today we’re predicting what the England team could look like in five years’ time.
Fullback: Jack Welsby
Jack Welsby has already ensured he’ll never be forgotten thanks to his Grand Final winning try last season. However, this campaign he’s shown that last year’s Grand Final was simply the first chapter of his career. He’s been outstanding for the Saints wherever he’s played this term and was key to their Challenge Cup success at Wembley. Set to take over from Lachlan Coote at fullback next year, in five years he could be the best number one in the league.
Wingers: Dom Young and Tom Johnstone
Plenty of Huddersfield fans were disappointed to see Dom Young head to Australia with critics suggesting it would derail his career. That’s not been the case this term. He’s forced his way into the Newcastle first team and grabbed a couple of tries and could soon be something really special. As for Tom Johnstone, he already is a really special winger and is about to hit his peak which should frighten the hell out of other Super League clubs. In five years’ time, he’ll be just coming off his peak however he’ll still be a class finisher and one of the top scorers in the league.
Centres: Harry Newman and Toby King
Toby King is already one of the best centres in the league and over the next few years he’ll probably go onto be the absolute best as he scores and creates tries at will for Warrington. He’ll become a mainstay in the England side and will be trusted to pick apart opposition defences. Meanwhile, last year’s Young Player of the Year Harry Newman has already shown he’s a quality centre despite his young age. Newman will only get better from here but is already outstanding in defence and attack.
Halfbacks: Jake Trueman and Rowan Milnes
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the emergence of some really exciting young English halfbacks. Lewis Dodd looks like the future of St Helens, Mikey Lewis is a real livewire of a player, Will Pryce has all the potential in the world but Rowan Milnes just edges it for me. Yes, he may have slipped up recently in the Hull derby even being dropped by Tony Smith but he has been outstanding especially in the absence of Jordan Abdull even in that Hull derby defeat. To organise in a huge game at his age takes guts but also a masterful boot and his is top drawer. As for Jake Trueman, I’ve said for a long time that he’s the future of the England halves and if he can put an end to his injury problems, he’ll develop into a real attacking weapon for the national side.
Props: Mikolaj Oledzki and Matty Lees
Despite his young age, Mikolaj Oledzki has been one of the league’s top props this season. Thus, with time on his side, it stands to reason that he’s only going to get better and in five years could have developed into a beast of a prop. Alongside him is a player I think we forget is still relatively young in Matty Lees. With great composure and physicality, Lees has shrugged off the injuries that stifled him earlier this season and he looks set to dominate as the season draws to a close.
Hooker: Jez Litten
Another youngster who feels like a seasoned pro, Jez Litten is one of my favourite players to watch thanks to his speed and skill. He’s the perfect modern number nine and has been at the heart of Hull KR’s superb attack this season. He’s only going to improve from here and will one day pull on an England jersey.
Second-Rowers: Morgan Gannon and Morgan Smithies
The Morgan backrow. Mr Smithies has constantly impressed me over the last few years and become a real leader in a young Wigan pack whether playing as a second-row or at 13. With tenacity and strength, he’s the ideal second-rower at international level. Alongside him is a youngster already being compared to Adrian Morley. Morgan Gannon is just 17 years of age and yet looks at home in Super League even claiming the Man of the Match against Huddersfield recently. If he continues to develop, he could find himself in the England team before long.
Loose-Forward: Morgan Knowles
Completing my trio of Morgans, Knowles is an outstanding loose-forward and is central to a brilliant St Helens pack. He has everything you’d want from a 13 with great strength, a touch of speed and skill as well as an exceptional work rate.
Substitutes: Danny Walker, Oliver Partington, Eribe Doro, Tom Holroyd
Unsurprisingly, the bench is populated by young forwards. Tom Holroyd, although in the shadow of Oledzki at Leeds, is another outstanding young prop with a great step and great tenacity. A top prop in the making as is Eribe Doro. The Warrington youngster would provide explosivity off the bench whilst Oliver Partington is already an establish Super League forward and is only going to get better in the next five years. Completing the bench is livewire Danny Walker. His pace and agility makes him the ideal replacement nine enabling him to get at tired defenders in the middle of the field.