England Knights officials keen to explore tour options for 2020

The RFL’s National Player Development Manager Dave Rotheram has admitted the England Knights are open to all possibilities with regards to their 2020 calendar.

Head coach Paul Anderson confirmed following their win over Jamaica that they had no scheduled games set for next year, though he was keen to sort that in the near future.

Anderson admitted a tour would be an ideal outcome, with the former Huddersfield head coach keen to put the country’s best youngsters in environments they will experience ahead of potential inclusion in a World Cup.

Rotheram, who has been a key figure in the development of the country’s pathway system, echoed those views, and expressed his desire to sort make arrangements moving forward.

“For a young player who is going to win a World Cup for England they have to experience these things,” he said.

“Even this weekend, being at Headingley, they had to get used to things to get used to tournaments. The more we can exploit them to those experiences, the more they’re ready for a World Cup.

“I’d like to think anything is possible. It’s working out between then and the first quarter of 2020 the logistics of that, and getting the appropriate opposition.

“It is tough because some of it is dependent on calendars. Getting the opposition is OK, you saw the effort Jamaica put in, it’s just finding somewhere in the calendar that fits with everything else. You’ve got to remember the Knights aren’t a full Test team, if you would. We’ve got to fit in where we can.”

Rotheram has been left encouraged by the progression of some of the nation’s top talent in the last 12.

“I think the important thing to stress is the progression of the players,” he said.

“What we’ve seen from this program is 13 players go from an initial selected Knights squad in January 2018 get a full England cap, and what’s really pleasing is that three players who played for England Academy last year played for the Knights.

“We’re seeing progression of our players through the pathways, which shows the work the clubs are doing but that our programs, that are heavily funded by Sport England, are working. We’re showing the progression of young players.”