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Warrington Wolves centre not named in Steve McNamara's 30-man England Elite squad
TONY Smith believes Ryan Atkins was left out of Steve McNamara’s England squad this week for ‘continuity’ after the centre missed much of last year’s international preparations.
Wolves have six included in the England Elite Training Squad that will meet at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire on the weekend of March 16 to start their World Cup preparations – Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler, Chris Hill, Adrian Morley, Garreth Carvell and Ben Westwood.
But the absence of Atkins continues to puzzle those who see the 25-year-old as one of England’s best in his position.
“I don’t think Ryan was included in the last squad that went to South Africa, and I think that Steve is sticking with the same centres for a bit of continuity more than anything else,” said former England boss Smith.
“It is nice that our players have been recognised and hopefully they’ll contribute the best they can.
“It is the ambition of several players in our squad, not only the ones, to get themselves included in the squad also.”
That leaves the door open for the likes of Atkins, who had a shoulder injury at the end of 2012, and Ben Harrison, who was on England’s trip to South Africa last October to impress with Wolves as the season progresses.
Also, back rower Ben Currie is one of three rising Super League stars who will take part in the Lincolnshire camp to help him acclimatise to the senior set-up.