England Rugby League Squad: Surprise Selections and New Faces Revealed by Shaun Wane

Surprise Selections as Wane Names England Squad

In a move that has rugby league enthusiasts buzzing, England head coach Shaun Wane unveiled his latest squad for an upcoming fixture, with several unexpected inclusions grabbing the spotlight. The 24-year-old Leeds Rhinos forward, James McDonnell, was among the six potential debutants named in the squad, despite having previously represented Ireland at the 2022 World Cup.

McDonnell, who has played 38 times for Leeds since joining the club ahead of the 2023 season, expressed his surprise at the call-up, describing it as a “surreal” and “much-welcomed” opportunity. The versatile second-rower acknowledged the risk of potentially not representing Ireland again, but he’s determined to seize the chance to don the England jersey.

“It was a surprise, a big surprise, but obviously a welcome one. It was a little bit surreal when I got the call. Shaun Wane rang me, and we spoke on the phone for a little bit. I told him I was completely on board.”

Joining McDonnell in the squad are his Leeds Rhinos teammates, Harry Newman and Ash Handley, both of whom have reportedly passed the necessary concussion protocols and been cleared for selection.

The player from Wigan further expressed the honor and significance of earning an England call-up, stating:

“I think for probably every English player that’s probably like the ultimate goal, isn’t it? It was on the radar, not sure how soon I anticipated it, I definitely didn’t anticipate it this time round, but like I said, it was a much-welcomed surprise and definitely a huge, huge honour.”

With France also assembling a formidable squad for the upcoming fixture, rugby league fans can look forward to an exciting clash between the two international sides. As the England squad prepares to come together on Wednesday, all eyes will be on the new faces looking to make their mark on the national team.

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