England v New Zealand: Luke Thompson confident of filling Sean O'Loughlin's boots

England v New Zealand, second Test
Venue: Anfield Date: Sunday, 4 November. Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app from 14:00 GMT, plus commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text updates online

Luke Thompson is confident he will be able to fill captain Sean O'Loughlin's boots in England's second Test with New Zealand at Anfield on Sunday.

The St Helens forward, 23, will make his first start for England after impressing off the bench during last weekend's 18-16 win in Hull.

Wigan forward O'Loughlin will miss out after suffering a recurrence of a calf injury early in the first test.

Thompson said: "I've never been here before. It's unreal and I can't wait."

England head coach Wayne Bennett has also called Castleford loose forward Adam Milner into his 17-man squad, but Thompson will be used as an extra prop from the start.

"I wasn't sure what he was going to do, but when he said I was starting I was made up," Thompson added.

"It's what I've been used to all year at Saints, so I'll feel comfortable starting. Nothing much changes for me, I'll bring my normal game and keep it simple."

England have the opportunity to complete a series victory over the Kiwis before the third and final Test at Elland Road next weekend.

Thompson said his teammates expect to face a "better team" than the one they met in Hull, but Bennett believes his side can match any improvement by the visitors.

"People say they'll be more desperate but I thought they were pretty desperate last week," the 68-year-old coach said.

"Whatever improvement they've got in them, we've got in us."

England: J Lomax (St Helens); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), O Gildart (Wigan), J Connor (Hull), T Makinson (St Helens); G Williams (Wigan), S Tomkins (Wigan); C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt), E Whitehead (Canberra), J Bateman (Wigan), L Thompson (St Helens).

Interchange: D Clark (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), G Burgess (South Sydney), A Milner (Castleford).

New Zealand (probable): D Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith, capt); K Maumalo (NZ Warriors), E Marsters (Wests Tigers), J Manu (Sydney Roosters), J Rapana (Canberra); S Johnson (NZ Warriors), K Nikorima (Brisbane); J Bromwich (Melbourne), B Smith (Melbourne), J Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), K Proctor (Gold Coast), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), J Fisher-Harris (Penrith).

Interchange: K Bromwich (Melbourne), L Ah Mau (St George Illawarra), M Taupau (Manly), A Blair (NZ Warriors).

Referee: G Sutton (Australia).

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