Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone has been selected for England’s Elite Performance Squad (EPS).
The naming of the squad is part of England’s preparations ahead of this year’s mid-season Test and Autumn International Test Series against New Zealand and England head coach Wayne Bennett’s 21-man team will regularly meet throughout the season.
It is the first EPS call-up for Johnstone, 22, who won the 2016 Super League Young Player of the Year and has impressed at the start of the Betfred Super League season, scoring four tries in three games.
Bennett said: “The Elite Performance Squad sessions in 2017 proved invaluable for the players in the build-up to the World Cup and it’s important that we do all we can to enable them to spend quality time together in an international environment.
“The 21-man EPS includes a mixture of experienced international players from the 2017 World Cup Squad, returning players and a new inclusion with Tom Johnstone.
“It’s important for us to focus on the Test matches this year but also keep in mind the 2021 World Cup too and the return of the England Knights Performance Squad ensures that we give players valuable time in an international set up.
“It is a very positive step for England Rugby League and all 46 players across both squads have the opportunity to impress my coaching staff in the coming months.”
England Knights head coach Paul Anderson has also selected a 25-man Knights Performance Squad (KPS).
The Knights last played in 2013 but return as part of the newly formed England Performance Unit (EPU) led by Rugby Director, Kevin Sinfield, that aims to develop more world-class England players for all senior squads for the 2021 and 2025 Rugby League World Cups.
Every English based Betfred Super League club is represented in the Knights squad with Reece Lyne representing Wakefield Trinity.
EPS squad: Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Scott Taylor (Hull FC), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Mark Percival (St Helens), James Roby (St Helens), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).
KPS squad: Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants), Josh Bowden (Hull FC), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Dean Hadley (Hull FC), Masimbaashe Matongo (Hull FC), Jamie Shaul (Hull FC), Chris Atkin (Hull KR), Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Walker (Leeds Rhinos), James Cunningham (London Broncos), Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors), Tom Davies (Wigan Warriors), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors), Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors), Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors), Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils), Danny Richardson (St Helens), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves), Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings), Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings), Matt Whitley (Widnes Vikings).