SHAUN Wane expects Mike McIlorum to firmly win Steve McNamara over in this autumn’s international series.
Hooker McIlorum is one of six Wigan players named in the 24-man England squad along with Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Lee Mossop, Gareth Hock and Sean O’Loughlin.
And with no St Helens No.9 James Roby, who is rested, McIlorum will have a real chance to impress ahead of next year’s World Cup.
McIlorum, overlooked this year for the matches against the Exiles, will travel with the squad to a training base in South Africa and – though he will be banned for the opening match against Wales – could play against France and in the Final of the triangular tournament.
Wane said: “It’s a great chance for Micky, and I think Steve McNamara will love having him in the squad.
“I’m a huge fan of James Roby, he’s a great player and this country is lucky to have two outstanding hookers.
“But they have contrasting styles and I think Micky can lay down a marker.”
Wane admits he was “surprised” in-form centre Darrell Goulding wasn’t included.
“But Darrell will use that as motivation,” added Wane. “When I handed him the centre shirt at the start of this year, he wanted to prove he was up to it – and he’ll do the same with this.”
Man of Steel Tomkins, who missed last Friday’s play-off defeat against Leeds, will travel with England to a high-altitude South Africa training base and receive treatment on a knee injury, before a decision is made on whether he can play in the series.
l Full squad: page 39