Farrell ‘feeling’ for McIlorum after England snub

Michael McIlorum and Liam Farrell tackle Zak Hardaker
Michael McIlorum and Liam Farrell tackle Zak Hardaker

LIAM Farrell admits he feels sorry for Wigan team-mate Michael McIlorum as the first week of England’s preparations for this year’s Test Series against New Zealand draws to a close.

The Warriors forward has been with Steve McNamara’s 24-man squad at St George’s Park in Staffordshire, where the players have been using the same facilities as England’s national football teams.

I feel for Micky, he’s highly under-rated for what he does

Liam Farrell

But Farrell feels McIlorum has been unfortunate to miss-out on selection - despite stiff competition for places at No.9.

“I feel for Micky, he’s highly under-rated for what he does,” said Farrell.

“There’s no No.9 like him. But there’s always going to be debate – especially with so much competition – and Steve Mac’s gone with two other special hookers, in Josh Hodgson and James Roby.”

Warriors still have six players in the England squad, including first call-ups for Wigan player-of-the-year John Bateman and young-player-of-the-year George Williams.

And Farrell thinks the pair will do their selections justice.

“From our points of view, it’s very good to have to six players from Wigan included in the squad,” he said. “John Bateman has done well for us all year and George was under pressure with the No.6 shirt and he’s just got better and better. They deserve their call-ups.”

Farrell made his England debut in 2013, and admitted his latest call-up is as special to him as the first.

“When Steve McNamara called me morning, it was as exciting as my first call-up,” he said.