England coach Steve McNamara has drafted five players into his 32-man Elite Training Squad whilst cuting five others in a mid-season reshuffle.
The squad, which will go into camp at Loughborough University on August 14 to continue preparations for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations, now includes Hull FC centre Kirk Yeaman, St Helens utility player Jonny Lomax, Leeds Rhinos second row Jamie Jones Buchanan and Warrington Wolves duo Garreth Carvell and Ryan Atkins.
We have a year-round programme for the ETS and this new group of players will form the nucleus of our international preparations over the next six months,” said McNamara.
“The five players who have come in are all worthy of their inclusion because of their form so far in 2011.
“Kirk Yeaman has been consistently good for most of this year and his challenge now is to improve his form to put himself in contention for selection in the 24-man squad that will be involved in the Four Nations.
“Jonny joins the ETS from the Knights squad and is another player who has impressed me with the progress he has made this year.
“At the start of the season he wasn’t sure what his best position would be he knows now and it shows. He’s a smashing young man and I’m looking forward to working with him in the ETS.”
Lomax and Atkins were previously members of the England Knights squad, a revised format of which was announced earlier this month.
The five players who have been dropped from the ETS will not join the Knights programme but McNamara has not ruled out the possibility of any of them gaining selection for the Four Nations.
“Competition for places in the 24-man squad will be intense, especially as there are also the Australia-based players to consider, but that doesn’t mean that any player is ruled out,” said McNamara.
“All the players who have dropped out of the ETS should now focus on playing as well as they between now and the end of the season with the aim of forcing their way back in.”
The 2011 Elite Training squad in full is (Super League club and community club in brackets):
England kick-off their Gillette Four Nations campaign eight days later on Saturday October 29, when they take on Wales at Leigh Sports Village (2.30pm) with tickets priced at only £10 for adults and £5 concessions.
To mark the return of International Rugby League to Wembley, the RFL have introduced a special celebratory offer, giving fans the chance to purchase a £25 ticket for only £10 if they book before Friday July 22 by quoting promotional code ‘4NWEM01′.
The 2011 Gillette Four Nations final will be played at Elland Road in Leeds on Saturday November 19 (6.00pm) and tickets are priced from £20 Adult and £10 concession.”