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Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth.

Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth is among seven NRL players named in a 35-man England squad ahead of the end-of-season World Cup but coach Shaun Wane could find no room for former St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop.

Canterbury prop Luke Thompson, who returns from suspension in Saturday's clash with Melbourne, South Sydney front-rower Tom Burgess and Canberra's quartet of Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead, Ryan Sutton and George Williams have all been named.

Former NRL players John Bateman, Zac Hardaker, Sam Tomkins and Mike Cooper are also in the squad, which will gather for a training session at Leeds Beckett University next Tuesday, but Widdop has been overlooked.

Widdop, who has played 31 Tests for England and Great Britain, enjoyed his best performance of the season for Warrington last weekend, scoring two tries and having a hand in most of his side's other six as they demolished Leigh 44-12.

"Names will come and go as the season unfolds, but the 35 players I've named reflect my current thinking," Wane said. "They are all capable of playing to an England standard. They know what's expected at international level and the heights they must hit.

"We have a good mix of youth and experience, and age is no barrier. The thirty-somethings in the squad are playing some good rugby. And if a 17-year-old puts his hand up and shows me he's got what it takes, he'll be in."

Sutton rounds out the win for the Raiders

Farnworth, 21, is yet to play at Test level but the other six NRL-based players are regular members of the England squad.

While the NRL stars won't be able to attend the session in Leeds, they will have regular contact with Wane and his coaching staff as England prepare to kick off the tournament at St James Park on October 23 against Samoa.

Australia play Fiji in Hull later on the opening day of the tournament.

England's build-up will include a mid-season match against the Combined Nations All Stars comprising of Super League players from other countries, including the likes of Greg Inglis, Joel Thompson, James Maloney and Josh Reynolds.

"I watch every Super League game, every week, multiple times and I'm seeing some good things so far from England players," Wane said.

"I keep a very close eye on the NRL too. Those players can't join us at Leeds Beckett, but I'll make sure they get the same information as the players who can.

"The session at Leeds is all about introducing players to my systems – how we'll defend, how we'll attack and so on. They are some of the best players around and they'll get it very quickly. It's an important part of our preparation for the mid-season international against the All Stars and for the World Cup too."

England 35-man squad

John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie (all Warrington Wolves), Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Luke Gale (Leeds Rhinos), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors), Josh Griffin (Hull FC), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Toby King (Warrington Wolves), Morgan Knowles, Jonny Lomax (both St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Dom Manfredi (Wigan Warriors), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Mark Percival (St Helens), Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (both Warrington Wolves), James Roby (St Helens), Dan Sarginson (Salford Red Devils), Ryan Sutton (Canberra Raiders), Luke Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Alex   Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Salford Red Devils), Elliott Whitehead, George Williams (both Canberra Raiders).

 

Tickets for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup are on sale now, with tickets starting at £2.21 and 80 per cent of tickets priced below £50. Fans who can no longer attend matches will be able to put their tickets on the Official Resale Platform through the ticketing website later in the year. For full ticketing details visit rlwc2021.com/tickets.