Over the last few months I have had a number of people asking who I would select in my England side for the World Cup. Today I have decided to post the side I would take into the opening World Cup match against Australia.
I have no doubt that some people will not be happy with the lineup I have selected. I don’t really care. It is clear that England need to get rid of some of their tried and tested international losers and pick players who are actually in form and who can give other teams a few problems at the World Cup.
I have tried to select a team that will be able to handle sides like Australia and New Zealand defensively. Obviously with it being an English side, you have to do the best with what you have to work with.
So, you ask for it, and now you have got it. Here is my preferred England lineup right now:
League Freaks England Team:
1. Zak Hardaker
2. Ryan Hall
3. Jack Reed
4. Leroy Cudjoe
5. Josh Charnley
6. Sam Tomkins
7. Rangi Chase
8. James Graham
9. James Roby
10. George Burgess
11. Ben Westwood
12. Sam Burgess
13. Gareth Ellis
14. Thomas Burgess
15. Luke Burgess
16. Lee Mossop
17. John Wilkin
So why have a picked the players above? This is why…
Hardaker said he wanted the England number 1 jersey, and I’m willing to give him his chance. This is for the good of the team. I’m looking to select the best all round England side that I possibly can. I want someone at fullback that can run the ball back hard and make meters.
Not even a question of who to pick here. Both players run the ball back hard and go looking for work.
Jack Reed is a walk up start while Cudjoe has proven himself to be the next best available.
Gareth Widdop would have been my halfback had he not been injured. I’ve had to go with Rangi Chase in his absence. Sam Tomkins best football at international level has come when he has played at standoff. I feel as though England need his footwork and ball playing ability in the line rather than coming from fullback.
The Front Row
James Graham and James Roby pretty much select themselves. I’ve gone with George Burgess as the other starting front rower as he has had a great season with South Sydney so far, he is improving all the time, and when he heads to the interchange bench you bring on one of his brother who are very similar players.
The Back Row
Gareth Ellis brings experience and work rate. Westwood bright toughness and a never say die attitude. Sam Burgess bring a big of everything and I think playing him in the back row will allow him to play extended minutes on the field.
I’ve gone with three forwards and Wilkin as a utility player. Wilkins form hasn’t been good for a while for St Helens, but he is the best option for the type of player I’m looking for.
Who I Have Left Out
Obviously there are a few notable names I have left out of the side. So I’ll list those players and why they have missed out.
He would be in my World Cup squad to cover the halves but I want a bit more experience for the opening game. That is why I went with Chase.
I’d ideally like to have him in the squad but he needs to do something for the Sharks through the end of the year.
I’d have him in the extended squad to cover injuries in the back line.
Gareth Hock, Sean O’Loughlin
The World Cup squads are not that big. When it comes down to it I’m simply looking to pick the form players heading into the World Cup. I would lean towards selecting O’Loughlin simply because I don’t like investing any time or effort into players that are not dependable on and off the field.
Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire
Please… I’m trying to win games here!
I’d love to have him in the England squad. He gives you 100% in every game he plays and he willing to do a lot of the dirty work that much more well known English players have never thought of doing in their life!
He would be my starting halfback if England hadn’t screwed him over so many times that he simply will refuse to play for them in the World Cup. Well done everyone involved!
Sure he is big, but he lacks the mobility and work rate at international level. I just can’t find a place for him.
Played for Ireland in 2008 and would probably be in my extended squad under the RFL’s fantastic idea to use Ireland, Wales and Scotland as feeder teams for England…
Under sized, under skilled and with a decade of international failure behind him. He simply is not one of the elite group of English players in the game.
Adrian Morely and Jamie Peacock
If we start a seniors World Cup, they’d be two of the first players England should select. However, sending these two in against the world best simply is not fair to either player.
So do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below!
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com