England have named two of their strongest ever Youth and Academy squads for 2014, a year which features internationals against France and Wales and climaxes with a Test series against the Australian High Schools.
The 2014 season will see an increase of players involved with a 36-man training squad selected for the England Academy (under-18s) and a 35-man squad for the Youth (under-16s) squad.
England Youth and Academy Manager Dave Elliott believes the two squads demonstrate the depth and quality of talent that is emerging through the player development pathways at Super League club and RFL Regional Academy levels.
“Putting the two squads together was very tough and that’s because there are so many high quality young players coming through the systems,” said Elliott.
“These are some of the strongest squads we have ever put together and the competition for places is going to be very fierce, especially for the Academy players who have the carrot of playing, and being tested against, the Australian High Schools.
“That’s why we haven’t ruled anyone out of selection at this point: there are still opportunities for players in form who are not in the Academy squad to play their way in.”
Nine of the players selected in the England Academy and Youth squads are from the RFL’s Regional Academies in Cumbria and the North East, a first for the initiative.
“I’m really pleased to see so many players in there from the regional Academies, the boys have all worked really hard and fully deserve their place,” said Elliott.
“Their selection is an acknowledgement of the strength of the game in Cumbria and the North East and demonstrates to all the professional and community clubs in both regions that if their players are good enough, they will be in the frame for international selection.”
The England Academy squad also includes players from Wigan Warriors who have nine players selected; Leeds Rhinos and St Helens are each represented by five players. Young stars from Huddersfield Giants (three), Hull FC (four), London Broncos (one), Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (one), Warrington Wolves (two) and Widnes Vikings (one) complete the Academy line-up.
The England Youth squad is dominated by Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos, who have six and five players, respectively. Warrington Wolves and St Helens provide five players each, Hull FC and Widnes Vikings both have three players in the squad, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Huddersfield Giants have two players selected and London Broncos have one.
England Academy will again by coached John Winder of Wigan Warriors, assisted by Hull FC’s Andy Last, whilst Stuart Barrow remains as coach of England Youth with Shane Eccles of Widnes Vikings as his assistant.
Full details of the 2014 fixtures have yet to be confirmed but England Youth will play a two-match Test series in France at Easter, as well as matches against Wales during the year, whilst the eagerly-anticipated series between England Academy and the Australian High Schools will take place in December.
The 2014 England Academy and England Youth squads in full are as follows:
England Academy 36-man squad (professional and community clubs in brackets)
Adam Saunders (St Helens, Thatto Heath)
Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Brandon Moore (RFL Cumbria Academy, Ellenborough Rangers)
Dave Hewitt (St Helens, Bold Miners)
David Thompson (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Elliot Minchella (Leeds Rhinos, West Bowling)
Gabriel Fell (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
George Milton (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Harry Tyson Wilson (Hull FC, West Hull)
Jack Logan (Hull FC, Cottingham Tigers)
Jack Downs (Hull FC, Cottingham Tigers)
Jack Johnson (Warrington Wolves, Saddleworth Rangers)
Jake Shorrocks (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Jake Moore (Wigan Warriors, Wath Brow Hornets)
Jansin Turgut (Hull FC, West Hull)
Joe Bretherton (Wigan Wariors, Wigan St Patricks)
Joe Hambley (Cumbria Academy, Ulverston)
Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Kurtis Quinn (Cumbria Academy, Wath Brow Hornets)
Luke Waterworth (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Macaulay Davies (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Judes)
Matt Stableford (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Matty Fleming (St Helens, Bold Miners)
Max Jowitt (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Stanley Rangers)
Mikey Wood (Huddersfield Giants, Slaithwaite Saracens)
Nick Gregson (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks )
Oliver Davies (St Helens, Orrell St James)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Robbie Ward (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Ryan Ince (Widnes Vikings, Widnes Moorfield)
Sam Luckley (RFL North East Academy, Wallsend Eagles)
Toby Everett (London Broncos, Greenwich Admirals)
Toby King (Warrington Wolves, Meltham All Blacks)
Tom Calland (St Helens, Widnes St Maries)
Tyler Dickinson (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Will Maher (Castleford Tigers / RFL Cumbria Academy, Ulverston)
England Youth 35-man squad (professional and community clubs in brackets):
Brad Clavering (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Brad Walker (RFL Cumbria Academy, Askam)
Cameron Smith (Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Panthers)
Carl Ceoghan (St Helens, Widnes St Maries)
Charlie Phythian (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
Charlie Weaver (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Chris Follin (St Helens, Thatto Heath Crusaders)
Connor Sunderland (Leeds Rhinos, Normanton Knights)
Connor Fitzsimmon (RFL Cumbria Academy, Seaton Rangers)
Craig Mullen (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook)
Dan Norman (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings, Rylands)
George Moore (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
Izaac Farrell (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers)
Jack Fox (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
Jack Gordon (RFL Cumbria Academy, Dalton)
Jack Wells (Wigan Warriors, Folly Lane)
Jake Woods (RFL North East Academy, Cramlington Rockets)
Jonathon Cameron (RFL Cumbria Academy, Seaton Rangers)
Jordan Lane (Hull FC, West Hull)
Josh Ganson (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Lewis Bienek (London Broncos, Greenwich Admirals)
Lewis Heckford (Wigan Warriors, Stanley Rangers)
Liam Paisley (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Dalton)
Liam Walsh (Widnes Vikings, Halton Farnworth Hornets)
Matty English (Huddersfield Giants, Stanley Rangers)
Max Dudley (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Judes)
Morgan Smith (Leeds Rhinos, Stanley Rangers)
Oliver Ashall (Widnes Vikings, Widnes Moorfield)
Patrick Casey (Wigan Warriors, Oldham St Annes)
Rob Fairclough (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Rory Dixon (Leeds Rhinos, Normanton Knights)
Ryan Jones (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Sam Brady (Wigan Warriors, Widnes Moorfield)
Will Dagger (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Castleford Panthers)