Written by John Davidson
Former England and Great Britain legend Garry Schoefield has questioned Shaun Wane’s selections and England’s chances in the upcoming World Cup.
England face Samoa on October 15 in the tournament opener, and are bidding to break a half a century World Cup drought.
Wane’s squad is missing a number of key players, including St Helens quintet James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival and Lewis Dodd.
Schofield, who starred for his country in the 1980s and 1990s, is predicting England to struggle.
“It’s going to be a very, very tough World Cup for England,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“There’s not just three sides anymore than can win the World Cup. There’s Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, as well as New Zealand and Australia, and PNG on their day can beat anyone. It’s going to be a very, very competitive World Cup.
“It all depends on the first game for England. If we lose that the pressure will be on.
“I don’t think England will get to the final. If we get to the semi-finals we’ll have done alright. We’re missing our best players through injury.
“This World Cup will tell us if we have great players [or not].”
With the injury absences of Lomax, Dodd and Gareth Widdop, Wane has selected Salford’s Marc Sneyd.
Schofield feels Wane has picked his squad mostly based on familiarity, not form, and believes the Wigan style of play that the coach favours will not work for England.
“They’ve lost the two best outside backs in Super League in Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival, it makes it more difficult,” the ex-national team skipper said.
“Creativity is the issue. If Marc Sneyd was still at Hull FC he wouldn’t be anywhere near the England side.
“We’re lacking in depth in the halves, but it is what it is. George Williams has been out of form all season.
“Waney likes a certain player, it doesn’t matter about their form. If Shaun likes you, you get picked.
“It’s all about his ex-Wigan players, the Wigan philosophy will be the England philosophy. Will it be the right one? No it won’t, certainly not.”
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Schofield has also slammed the selection of Australian-born and raised forward Victor Radley, after Wane previously claimed he would avoid picking foreign-born players.
“I wouldn’t have any Kiwis or Aussies anywhere near my dressing room,” he said.
“Waney has gone back on his word. Radley was never near getting picked for Australia, that’s why he’s gone for England.”