St Helens forward Morgan Knowles has switched his international allegiance from Wales to England and will be available for selection in Shaun Wane’s England squad moving forward into the World Cup year in 2021.
Knowles, 23, who was named in the Super League Dream Team in 2019, but missed out on the Great Britain Tour due to surgery, was born in Cumbria, but qualified for Wales through his Welsh mother.
He picked up three caps for Wales at Under-16s level and two for Wales Under-19s before going on to play four times for Wales’ senior side between 2015 and 2017, including in the 2017 World Cup.
He will now hope to represent England at next year’s Rugby League World Cup after Shaun Wane confirmed the news at a press conference earlier today.
Morgan Knowles said: “I feel very honoured to have played for Wales and represent my Welsh family and heritage and I am hugely grateful for the opportunities and experiences this has brought my way.
“But first and foremost I’m a really proud Cumbrian. I was born in Barrow and I’m English and I want to play for my country. Hopefully if I work hard, I will be able to do that and I am excited about what the future may hold.”
England coach Wane said: “I have been aware of Morgan for quite a while now, he is a player I admire greatly. His skilful and competitive way of playing really suits what we want to see from an England player. I am sure he will play a big part within our England top squad and the success we will have.
“Already I have spoken to him and I like him. He is a player that stayed behind the first time I met him and asked what he needs to work on. That speaks volumes of him as a player, that desire to improve is everything to me.
“He can play. Lockers [Sean O’Loughlin] is not going to last forever and he sees himself jumping in there, which I can see myself. He is one of those players with skill and a bit of speed who can do a job anywhere.
“It was ultimately Morgan’s choice and I gave him the option and he decided to come with me. You have seen what he is like at Saints, going head-to-head with some tough players.
“He is the sort of lad that will relish a tough Test match and I look forward to seeing him in that sort of environment.”
Knowles follows Garreth Carvell who was the last player to switch from Wales to England whilst Tyson Frizell opted to switch to Australia in 2016.