Wakefield Trinity's Tom Johnstone named in England elite player squad
Last Updated: 07/03/18 4:55pm
Wakefield's uncapped winger Tom Johnstone has been named in England coach Wayne Bennett's 21-man elite performance squad.
The 22-year-old has been on England's radar since bursting onto the scene in spectacular fashion in 2016 but a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament last April ruled him out of the reckoning for the World Cup.
However, Johnstone, born in Germany where his Army-serving father was stationed, made an impressive comeback with a hat-trick of tries in Trinity's opening match of the 2018 Betfred Super League season and on Wednesday received his reward.
Johnstone is the solitary new face in the squad, which will meet at regular intervals throughout the year in preparation for the June 23 Test against New Zealand in Denver and the autumn series against the Kiwis.
Leeds second rower Stevie Ward, who was ruled out of the World Cup due to shoulder surgery, edges closer to making his England debut with his inclusion and there is a recall for Warrington hooker Daryl Clark.
Winger Tom Makinson, another uncapped player, is one of five representatives from Super League leaders St Helens.
"It's important for us to focus on the Test matches this year but also keep in mind the 2021 World Cup too and the return of the England Knights Performance Squad ensures that we give players valuable time in an international set up," said Bennett.
"It is a very positive step for England Rugby League and all 46 players across both squads have the opportunity to impress my coaching staff in the coming months."
England Rugby League Elite Performance Squad: Luke Gale, Mike McMeeken (both Castleford), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins (all Leeds), Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, James Roby, Alex Walmsley (all St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington), John Bateman, Sean O'Loughlin, George Williams (all Wigan).
England Knights Performance Squad: Greg Minikin, Jake Trueman (both Castleford), Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield), Josh Bowden, Jake Connor, Dean Hadley, Masimbaashe Matongo, Jamie Shaul (all Hull FC), Chris Atkin (Hull KR), Liam Sutcliffe, Jack Walker (both Leeds), James Cunningham (London Broncos), Niall Evalds (Salford), Danny Richardson, Luke Thompson (both St Helens), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Jack Hughes (Warrington), Tom Gilmore, Danny Walker, Matt Whitley (all Widnes Vikings), Joe Burgess, Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton (all Wigan).