England star Tommy Makinson was '˜let go' by Wigan Warriors as a junior
Five of England's seven backs at Anfield tomorrow are products of Wigan amateur clubs.
Warriors George Williams, Sam Tomkins and Oliver Gildart played at St Pats as juniors (Williams was also at Ince Rose Bridge).
Full-back Jonny Lomax emerged through the ranks at Orrell St James, while his St Helens team-mate Tommy Makinson is a former St Judes amateur who was on Wigan’s radar as a teenager before being released.
“I was on Wigan’s development squad until I was about 14 and they let me go,” he remembered.
“I was really small and there were other players better than me, so it was fair enough.
“I remember Sam Powell was there, and Jack Hughes too.”
He eventually got his breakthrough at St Helens where he has become a star winger – although the Hindley-raised player has not managed to convince all his family to switch allegiances.
“My gran and grandad are die-hard Wigan fans and there’s no changing them!” he smiled.
“But they support me. The derby is always interesting.”
There will be no divided loyalties tomorrow when a dozen-strong fanclub of family members head to Anfield to cheer him on.
Makinson was the players’ man of the match for his efforts in the 18-16 opening Test win and was later hailed by coach Wayne Bennett.
But with Wakefield’s Tom Johnstone also in the squad – as well as versatile Warrington back Stefan Ratchford – he is not taking his place for granted.
“I know that anyone can jump into your spot with one bad performance so for me it is about performing well in matches and in training,” said the 27-year-old.
“I need to perform for Wayne and the other selectors and coaches to prove how good I am and what I can do.”
Kick-off tomorrow is 2.30pm (BBC1).