Storm's Widdop makes England squad - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's Widdop makes England squad

02/06/2010 01:06:39 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne Storm full-back Gareth Widdop has earned a surprise call-up to England's squad for their international against France next month.

England-born Widdop emigrated with his family to Australia when he was 16, but confirmed his desire to represent his home country despite also being eligible to play for Australia.

The 21-year-old is one of three uncapped players named in new England coach Steve McNamara's 19-man squad for the clash at Leigh Sports Village on June 12.

Widdop, whose father Gary played for Keighley, will be one of three players flying over from Australia for the mid-season international - South Sydney's former Bradford forward Sam Burgess and Wests Tigers second rower Gareth Ellis are the others.

"This squad contains an exciting blend of experience and potential," McNamara said.

"I have done a lot of research on Gareth, who is already a very good player with the potential to be an outstanding one.

"His first-team appearances have been limited at Melbourne due to being second choice behind the world's No.1 full-back Billy Slater, but I feel that this is the perfect opportunity and timing to take a closer look at an already very exciting young talent."

Widdop, who worked his way through Melbourne's academy and Under-20s team to make his first-team debut this season, is preferred to Hull KR full-back Shaun Briscoe, one of three players dropped from England's Four Nations final team.

Hull KR winger Peter Fox and Huddersfield prop Eorl Crabtree are the others left out, along with St Helens backrower Jon Wilkin, who is injured.

Their places go to Hull winger Tom Briscoe, Bradford front rower Nick Scruton and Wigan second rower Joel Tomkins, who are both expected to win their first caps.

There are also recalls for Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin, who missed both the 2008 World Cup and the 2009 Four Nations series through injury, and Leeds five-eighth Danny McGuire.

Tomkins' selection alongside his younger brother Sam, the Wigan five-eighth, could see siblings play alongside each other in the national team for the first time since 1989, when Paul and David Hulme, of Widnes, lined up for Great Britain against New Zealand at Wigan.

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