Jordan Abdull: Man of Steel shortlistee set for England debut next weekend
Hull KR half-back likely to line up alongside Jonny Lomax against France on Saturday; Castleford full-back Niall Evalds also set for a debut; Sam Tomkins misses out due to a knee injury
Last Updated: 17/10/21 11:44am
Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull is set to win his first cap for England in next Saturday's Test against France in Perpignan.
The 25-year-old former Hull FC and London Broncos player's selection in a 20-man squad is reward for a superb season with the shock Super League semi-finalists, which also earned him a place on the Man of Steel shortlist.
As one of only two specialist half-backs in the squad, Abdull looks certain to line up alongside Jonny Lomax, one of five players from champions St Helens.
There is also likely to be a debut for Castleford full-back Niall Evalds in the absence of Sam Tomkins - who, as expected, is ruled out with the knee injury he carried into the Grand Final with Catalans Dragons.
It means coach Shaun Wane will have to appoint a new captain in place of Tomkins, who led England for the first time in the mid-season game against a Combined Nations All Stars.
Other potential new caps include Leeds centre Harry Newman, who has made a full recovery from a double leg break, and St Helens prop Matty Lees, who was in the England Knights team that defeated Jamaica 56-4 at Castleford on Friday night.
Another Knight, captain Danny Walker, is also promoted in the absence of his injured Warrington team-mate Daryl Clark.
Wane said: "Things are always going to be fluid up to a point with form and injuries but I'm more than happy that we have the players to get the job done.
"Every player is in on merit and they know what's expected of them. Each one is a credit to their club, they have adapted themselves well at training, and bring a very positive mindset.
"There's no doubt it's going to be tough. Catalans Dragons players dominate the French squad and their fans are fanatical.
"We'll work hard in training this week and we'll be raring to go come game day. The players are ready to do England proud."
France's new coach Laurent Frayssinous must also find a new captain after losing Ben Garcia, Theo Fages and Julian Bousquet to injury, and he will announce his man when the squad goes into camp on Tuesday.
England squad: J Abdull (Hull KR), B Currie (Warrington), T Davies (Catalans), N Evalds (Castleford), J Bateman (Wigan), M Cooper (Warrington), L Farrell, Z Hardaker (both Wigan), M Knowles (St Helens), K Leeming (Leeds), M Lees, J Lomax (both St Helens), R Lynne (Wakefield), Paul McShane (Castleford), T Makinson (St Helens), H Newman (Leeds), M Oledzki (Leeds), J Philbin, D Walker (both Warrington), Alex Walmsley (St Helens).