Yesterday, England boss Steve McNamara picked a 34-man training squad that will assemble in Loughborough on June 15 to work together ahead of this year’s Four Nations tournament, which starts in October.
It’s a chance for the players to bond and go through early plans for the competition’s opening game against Samoa, and therefore it is unlikely that anyone not included – besides a few of England’s NRL imports, who are sure to be added – will be on the plane to Australia.
Although I agree with the majority of McNamara’s selections – and in many ways it mirrors the team I picked recently – I just can’t help thinking he has made a mistake in the half-back department.
McNamara has selected Matty Smith, Stefan Ratchford, Kevin Sinfield and Richard Myler.
All four are more than competent players, and I believe Smith on form and Ratchford for his utility value, merit inclusion. However, Sinfield and Myler have been less than impressive this year and, to me, it is a travesty that they have been selected at the expense of Super League’s best two playmakers – Kevin Brown and Marc Sneyd, who have scored and assisted a combined 47 tries in 2014.
In contrast, Myler and Sinfield have finished or created just 18 tries.
I genuinely don’t know why McNamara would include Myler over Sneyd or Brown, and the only reasons I can think of for playing Sinfield ahead of them is for his goal-kicking and leadership. However, Sneyd has proven to be a more effective kicker this year, landing 59 conversions to Sinfield’s 49, while the likes of James Roby, Sean O’Loughlin and James Graham will surely provide the experience and leadership the team needs.
If you ask me, Marc Sneyd and Kevin Brown are currently better players than any of the half-backs picked by Steve McNamara yesterday and they do not deserve to be out of the running.