SEAN O’Loughlin described being made England captain as being a “huge honour”.
The national side’s coach Steve McNamara today (Sunday) named his squad for this autumn’s Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand which included seven Wigan players.
Young duo Dan Sarginson and Joe Burgess have been called up for the first time while Liam Farrell, Matty Smith, Joel Tomkins, Josh Charnley and new skipper O’Loughlin complete the Warriors contingent.
Wigan’s representation is the biggest of all other clubs and it could have been eight but Michael McIlorum missed the cut due to upcoming surgery after next week’s Grand Final against St Helens, who have had no players selected.
O’Loughlin, who replaces Leeds Rhinos Kevin Sinfield after his international retirement earlier this summer, said: “I’m very excited by this new challenge, it is a huge honour to be appointed captain of the national team and I am very much looking forward to leading the side in Australia and New Zealand over the coming weeks.
“We’ve got a number of leaders in the squad and I will work with them to ensure we are doing all we can to be successful on the international stage.
“It’s about going out there and leading from example. It’s an exciting time for England Rugby League.”
McNamara, added: “Sean O’Loughlin is a great leader and has been left a positive legacy from Kevin (Sinfield).
“He is excited and honoured to be captaining the national set-up and will impose his experience and qualities on the rest of the group. In particular, his attention detail and work ethic will inspire the players both on and off the field.”
The 24-man-squad is:
George Burgess, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor
Joe Burgess, Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge
Tom Burgess, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor
Josh Charnley, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Daryl Clark, Castleford Tigers, Newsome Panthers
Mike Cooper, St George Illawarra Dragons, Latchford Albion
Liam Farrell, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Brett Ferres, Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers
James Graham, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook
Ryan Hall, Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders
Zak Hardaker, Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions
Chris Hill, Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions
Josh Hodgson, Hull KR, East Hull
Sean O’Loughlin (captain), Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Stefan Ratchford, Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks
Dan Sarginson, Wigan Warriors, Hemel Stags
Michael Shenton, Castleford Tigers, Upton
Matty Smith, Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook
Joel Tomkins, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Sam Tomkins, New Zealand Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Kallum Watkins, Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion
Joe Westerman, Hull FC, Featherstone Lions
Elliott Whitehead, Catalans Dragons, West Bowling
Gareth Widdop, St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross