Young guns in England squad

George Williams

George Williams

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WIGAN young-guns George Williams and John Bateman have been named in England’s squad for the autumn series against New Zealand.

Uncapped Joe Burgess - who toured last year but didn’t play - also figures in the 24-man panel, which will be captained by Warriors skipper Sean O’Loughlin.

Liam Farrell, Matty Smith and returning full-back Sam Tomkins also figure - they played in last year’s Four Nations - but Joel Tomkins misses out because of upcoming surgery.

Castleford Tigers half-back Luke Gale and leading try-scorer in Super League Jermaine McGillvary, from the Huddersfield Giants, are rewarded after a strong season in the domestic campaign.

St Helens hooker James Roby, Huddersfield centre Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington’s Ben Westwood all return after missing selection 12 months ago through injury.

Warriors hooker Michael mcIlorum has not been included.

Meanwhile, six players – South Sydney Rabbitohs George Burgess, St Helens’ Alex Walmsley, Leeds’s Stevie Ward, Brisbane Broncos Jack Reed, Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford and Wigan’s Tomkins - have not been considered because of upcoming surgery during the close season.

England coach Steve McNamara said: “We spent a long time selecting this squad and there were some close calls with a lot of competition for places.

“There is a tremendous challenge in front of us against the best rugby league nation in the world. New Zealand will be formidable opponents.

“There is a strong core of players that have come through the England system over recent years and have the desire, appetite and quality to do English Rugby League proud in this tournament.

“We are fully aware that we will need to work exceptionally hard and play to a very high level to win the tournament. Our aim is to win our first home series against southern hemisphere opposition since Great Britain defeated New Zealand in 2007.”

England will be based throughout the tournament at the Football Association’s St George’s Park training facility in Burton-upon-Trent.

England’s international schedule kicks off at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday October 24 with a match against France (2pm).

The three-game series against New Zealand starts at the KC Stadium, Hull on Sunday November 1 (5pm) moving on to The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday November 7 (2.30pm). The series concludes at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 (1pm).

England squad for the 2015 International Series (professional club and community club shown):

John Bateman, Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill

Joe Burgess, Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge

Thomas Burgess, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor

Mike Cooper, St George Illawarra Dragons, Latchford Albion

Leroy Cudjoe, Newsome Panthers, Huddersfield Giants

Ben Currie, Warrington Wolves, Golborne Parkside

Liam Farrell, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks

Brett Ferres, Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers

Luke Gale, Castleford Tigers, Middleton Marauders

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, Canberra Raiders, East Hull

Jermaine McGillvary, Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors

Sean O’Loughlin (captain), Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks

James Roby, St Helens, Blackbrook

Matty Smith, Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook

Sam Tomkins, New Zealand Warriors, Wigan St Patricks

Kallum Watkins, Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion

Ben Westwood, Warrington Wolves, Normanton Knights

Elliot Whitehead, Catalans Dragons, West Bowling

Gareth Widdop, St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross

George Williams, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks