Morley overlooked as McNamara names England squad for Exiles clashes
11:08 GMT, 7 June 2012
Fifty-cap veteran Adrian Morley has been left out of Steve McNamara's England squad for the forthcoming fixtures with the Exiles.
Other notable selections for the two meetings include the return of Wigan's Gareth Hock, back in an England side for the first time since his drugs ban, and Huddersfield's former Scotland international Danny Brough.
Hull's in-form Danny Tickle and Warrington centre Ryan Atkins are the two players coach Steve McNamara has chosen to pick from outside of his Elite Training Squad, while four players – Brough included – are still to make their England debuts.
Dropped: Adrian Morley has been overlooked
But the non-selection of Warrington forward Morley is perhaps the biggest headline.
Alongside Jamie Peacock, who retains the captaincy, the 35-year-old has been considered to be McNamara's first-choice pick ever since he took office two years ago.
Unlike Peacock, though, he has yet to confirm if he intends to play on into 2013 – a World Cup year – and has only just returned from a neck injury.
McNamara is expected to confirm the reasoning behind the decision later, but has not called time on any player not included.
'For the other players that have missed out, the door is still open and it is important they continue to work hard in the domestic competition with a view to getting back in the squad,' he said.
Skipper: Jamie Peacock captains England once more
'It is a pleasing situation to be in. We have competition for places right across the team and every player knows they have to perform week in, week out if they are going to be part of the England programme.'
Atkins and Tickle are part of it after stellar seasons with their clubs. The former last played for England in 2010 and the latter a year before that, and McNamara has liked what he has seen from them this season.
'I have been impressed with Ryan and Danny's form in recent weeks,' he said.
'They have worked hard to force their
way into the squad and now have an opportunity of being part of the
Elite Training Squad for the rest of this year and beyond.'
The 21-man squad carries over 10 players
from last year's Four Nations and in the shape of Brough, Carl Ablett
(Leeds), Josh Charnley and Lee Mossop (both Wigan) has four possible
Potential debut: Josh Charnley (centre)
England squad to face the Exiles:
Ablett (Leeds), Atkins (Warrington),
Briscoe (Hull), Brough (Huddersfield), Burrow (Leeds), Carvell
(Warrington), Charnley (Wigan), Chase (Castleford), Crabtree
(Huddersfield), Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Hall (Leeds), Hock (Wigan),
Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), Mossop (Wigan), O'Loughlin (Wigan), Peacock,
captain (Leeds), Roby (St Helens), Sinfield (Leeds), Tickle (Hull),
Tomkins (Wigan), Wilkin (St Helens).
England Knights squad to face Ireland: Broughton (Salford), Clarkson
(Leeds), Clough (St Helens), Cooper (Warrington), Evans (Warrington),
Farrell (Wigan), Ferguson (Huddersfield), Flanagan (St Helens), Gaskell
(St Helens), Hardaker (Leeds), Josh Hodgson (Hull KR), Houghton (Hull),
Jones-Bishop (Leeds), Lomax (St Helens), Lunt (Leeds), McGillvary
(Huddersfield), Patrick (Huddersfield), Ratchford (Warrington), Riley
(Warrington), Smith (Salford), Taylor (Hull KR), Watts (Hull KR),
Wheeler (St Helens).
It would be a long-awaited England bow for Brough, the former plumber who has captained Scotland but threw his lot in with England last year only to get injured on the eve of the inaugural fixture with the Exiles.
Ian Henderson, the Catalan Dragons' Torquay-born, Australian-raised, Scotland international hooker has been overlooked, as have a total of 12 players from the ETS.
Of those, Zak Hardaker and Ben Jones-Bishop (both Leeds) and Jonny Lomax (St Helens) have been named in the England Knights squad to face Ireland.
That group also included Rhys Evans, the Wales-born Warrington back and Salford's in-demand scrum-half Matty Smith.
While Australia-based Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis are both currently injured, neither would have been available anyway, with the same going for Melbourne's Gareth Widdop, Canterbury's James Graham, Brisbane's Jack Reed and Wests' Chris Heighington.