England captain Sam Tomkins has every confidence that England can win the World Cup with the 24-man squad coach Shaun Wane has named.
Wane, who will take charge of England in his first World Cup as head coach this autumn, announced his 24-man squad on Friday morning.
Six players are hoping to make their first appearances in an England jersey – Andy Ackers (Salford), Marc Sneyd (Salford), Kai Pearce-Paul (Wigan), Dom Young (Newcastle Knights), Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters) and Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos).
However, St Helens trio Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival and Alex Walmsley have been ruled out through injury. Leeds centre Harry Newman and Wigan forward Liam Farrell are also sidelined.
But despite England being without notable star names, Tomkins has full belief in his side that they can clinch the World Cup on home soil.
When asked by Love Rugby League if England can win the World Cup, Tomkins replied: “I believe so.
“To win the World Cup you’ve got to hit form straight away which isn’t always easy. But we’ve got 24 blokes that are desperate to play for England and that goes a long way.
“You’ve got to go and win a quarter, semi and a final and I think the group we’ve got are more than capable of doing that.”
Five teams can realistically win World Cup, says Sam Tomkins
Tomkins reckons this year’s World Cup will be the most competitive yet. A number of NRL stars have pledged their commitment to their Pacific Islander heritage ahead of this year’s tournament.
Origin stars such as Jarome Luai, Brian To’o and Josh Papali’i have committed to Samoa. Tonga have superstars like Jason Taumalolo, Daniel Tupou and David Fifita among their ranks.
Tomkins believes any one of Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga or England could be crowned World Cup winners.
He added: “If you look at Samoa and Tonga in previous World Cups, they didn’t have anything like the squads they’ve got now and that’s down to players wanting to play for their home country rather than Australia. It weakens Australia but only a little bit, they could name three squads which would compete.
“I think it’s good for the World Cup, there’s five teams that could all play each other and there’ll be an upset. There’ll be a few shock victories in the World Cup so hopefully we aren’t on the wrong end of that.
“There’s five teams in it that could all compete and one of those will be a very good team that doesn’t make a semi-final.”
England get their World Cup campaign underway with a highly-anticipated clash against Samoa at St James’ Park in Newcastle on October 15.