England rugby league: Who would you pick in your starting XIII?

By Dave WoodsBBC rugby league correspondent

England's Test series victory over New Zealand has seen a clutch of new stars emerge on to the international stage.

Tommy Makinson - Golden Boot and Player of the Series winner - has become one of world's most talked-about players in the past three weeks.

His St Helens team-mate Luke Thompson, Wigan centre Oliver Gildart and Hull's mercurial Jake Connor have also shown themselves to be world class in helping beat a quality Kiwis outfit.

It proves England's well of talent is deeper than it has been in generations.

Ten of the players who pushed Australia to the very limits in last year's World Cup final were not available to Wayne Bennett before this series.

Two have retired from internationals but the other eight - missing because of injury - would have expected to be near certain match-day selections had they been fit.

That means there is now genuine debate as to what is England's best starting XIII - if everyone had a clean bill of health.

In nearly every position there are three or four alternatives who have a proven pedigree.

The pack has been impressive in this series, but consider those who didn't play - Sam Burgess, James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Ben Currie, Scott Taylor, Mike Cooper.

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess was missing from England's series win over New Zealand

The Knights tour of Papua New Guinea showed there is some powerful talent coming through as well - Matty Lees, Joe Philbin to name but two.

And what about Paul McShane?

The backs are equally well blessed, with Tom Johnstone and Mark Percival two young players who didn't get a look in this time around against New Zealand, but who were both singled out by Bennett as stars of the future.

There is still the likes of Gareth Widdop, Luke Gale, Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins to come back into contention once injuries have been cleared, and a clutch of exciting Super League wingers to add to the mix in Dom Manfredi, Tom Davies and Josh Charnley.

And there are plenty of others.

So what is your best England team given a clean bill of health? We've given you the chance to pick your best starting XIII.

But take your time, it won't be easy.

This selector has now been closed - the results will appear on the rugby league index later.

Pick England’s best starting XIII

Pick your selection for England's current best starting XIII following their series victory over New Zealand.

Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

30 comments