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Rugby League: Five players who could make Shaun Wane's squad

The Rugby League World Cup will finally take place in the autumn as Shaun Wane aims to guide England to a historic victory on home soil.

There are plenty of players who will be eyeing a place in his squad, and even starting line-up for the tournament, so it is vital that they perform well in both the Super League and NRL this season.

Wane is likely to have a number of players pencilled in, such as captain Sam Tomkins, St Helens superstars Tommy Makinson and Alex Walmsley, and Warrington half-back George Williams.

However, there are still plenty of places up for grabs and here are five players, of which only one was included in the training squad, who could force their way into an England side that can be backed to win the World Cup at 6/1, with defending champions Australia priced at 3/10.

Tom Johnstone - Wakefield Trinity

But for injury, Johnstone could well be regarded as one of the best wingers in the world and he will be hoping for a year of full fitness heading into the World Cup.

Knee injuries have plagued his career but despite spending many months on the sidelines, Johnstone's electric pace and finishing ability makes him one of the most exciting players in Super League, despite not playing for one of the frontrunners.

Johnstone's only cap to date came back in 2018 but he marked the occasion with a hat-trick against France and is more than capable at this level.

Jake Connor - Hull FC

Connor is unlucky in the sense that he has now nailed down the full-back position in Hull colours, yet that is the one position in the England squad he is unlikely to work his way into due to Tomkins holding the captaincy.

However, Connor is currently one of the most exciting players in Super League and is adept in an array of positions, fitting in with ease at centre and the halves, making him a potential valuable asset to Wane, who may look to use him to add fluidity in the back-line and bring his skipper into the game.

He has scored four tries in five caps for England and has the talent to trouble any defence.

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Harry Newman - Leeds Rhinos

Centre seems to be one of the most open positions for selection in the squad and having been included in Wane's first training party, Newman could feature heavily for Shaun Wane if his form continues to blossom.

Newman has already been through a lot in his fledgling career, most notably recovering from a horrific double leg break suffered in September 2020.

He seems to have come back stronger for the experience and despite the Rhinos struggling badly so far this season, he continues to be one of the shining lights.

The 22-year-old is strong in the tackle and elusive with ball in hand, making him a real strike threat on the edges.

Oliver Gildart - Wests Tigers

Gildart made his move to the NRL during the winter after several good seasons with Wigan and is the latest to make a potentially career-changing switch Down Under.

He is a Super League winner and played under Shaun Wane at Wigan, so the England coach will know his game inside and out.

Like Connor, he also had the advantage of being a versatile player but it is on the left of the attack where he really excels.

Luke Thompson - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

Prop Thompson has been playing his rugby in Australia since the start of 2020 after leaving St Helens and is another one who has further enhanced his career in the NRL.

Even though the Bulldogs collected the Wooden Spoon for 2021, Thomspon was praised for his performances and could rekindle his prop partnership with Alex Walmsley going into the World Cup.

He has previously won four England caps and has also represented Great Britain, so knows what it's about on the international stage.

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