McNamara names training squad
England coach Steve McNamara has included nine Wigan players in a 34-strong squad for a mid-season training camp at Loughborough University.
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Hooker Michael McIlorum, who was dropped by McNamara for England's World Cup semi-final last November, is among the Warriors contingent and is joined by Leeds' in-form full-back Zak Hardaker, who is forgiven after being ejected from the national squad as a disciplinary measure.
However, as expected, there is no reprieve for Rangi Chase and Gareth Hock, the Salford Red Devils duo who were the other players who failed to finish the World Cup campaign after falling foul of McNamara's strict code of discipline and showing no remorse since, unlike both McIlorum and Hardaker.
Ironically, the Wigan players will miss the three-day camp from June 15-17 because their club have a re-arranged Super League match against Widnes on June 18 but their selection confirms they are in the reckoning for the 2014 Four Nations Series in Australia and New Zealand in October and November.
There are no NRL-based players in the 34-strong squad, which comprises a crop of hugely-promising players who have taken Super League by storm this year, including St Helens trio Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor and Tommy Makinson and Catalan Dragons' former Bradford second rower Elliott Whitehead.
The players have been drawn from eight clubs and Widnes stand-off Kevin Brown is arguably the most eye-catching omission.
There are international recalls for Castleford centre Michael Shenton, Warrington scrum-half Richie Myler and Leeds second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan and promotion for hookers Daryl Clark (Castleford) and Josh Hodgson (Hull KR).
McNamara will return from Sydney, where he is now assistant coach of the Roosters, to lead the camp, which he feels is an important part of England's bid to taste international success Down Under this autumn.
"The camp is very important for us and I'm looking forward to working with all the players as a group again," he said.
"We have made considerable progress over the last few years by getting together at specific stages of the year and this training camp allows us to build on that progress by spending valuable time together.
"It's been a difficult process putting this squad together because of the sheer number of players who were in contention.
"There is an enormous amount of talent emerging through the ranks in Super League.
"Many of the players in the squad were with us for the World Cup and there are some great additions to the group who will benefit from being in a camp that will focus everyone's minds on what we need to do to achieve international success.
"We have widened the net for this camp and the door remains open for every player in Super League: there are a lot of games remaining between now and the end of the season and a lot of opportunities for players to put themselves in contention for selection."
D Clark, C Huby, M Shenton (all Castleford, E Whitehead (Catalan Dragons), L Cudjoe, B Ferres (both Huddersfield), J Westerman (Hull), J Hodgson (Hull KR), C Ablett, T Briscoe, R Hall, Z Hardaker, K Sinfield, K Watkins, J Jones-Buchanan (all Leeds), J Lomax, T Makinson, J Roby, A Walmsley, K Amor (all St Helens), C Hill, R Myler, S Ratchford, B Westwood, C Bridge (all Warrington), J Bateman, J Burgess, J Charnley, L Farrell, M McIlorum, S O'Loughlin, D Sarginson, S Taylor, M Smith.