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England boss Shaun Wane is ready to ask James Roby if he wants to end international retirement – Roby’s wife can too

JAMES Roby would be one of the first names on the England team list if he hadn’t officially retired from internationals.

And England boss Shaun Wane is ready to ask the St Helens icon if he wants to play for his country again – the hooker’s wife can help if she wants!

James Roby is asked how to end his international retirement

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James Roby is asked how to end his international retirementPhoto credit: SWPIX.COM

The national boss is getting what he has been longing for with his squad a week before Saturday’s singles international against the Combined Nations All Stars ahead of the Autumn World Cup.

But while Michael McIlorum is back in England for the first time in nine years and Paul McShane is in the squad, the man to present the shirts on Friday is being looked for on the pitch.

Wane said: “If he hadn’t retired James would be one of the first names on my team list. Formally and statistically he plays really well.

“And I’ll ask him, I don’t mind. If his wife wants to help me, I don’t mind!

“He’s a great player but I also have a lot of respect for him – and he still does, which is a huge credit to him and how he’s taken care of his body.

“He presents the jerseys on Friday, maybe I’ll talk to him then.

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“I’m a big fan of multiple players in this role, but the standouts are James and Michael. That increases the competition for places and I said to my staff, ‘I want five full-backs and ten wingers who all think they should play.’

“That’s when you get greatness when you have tons of competition.”

McIlorum may be wearing an England shirt for the first time since 2013 – he has played for Ireland – while fellow Catalan Mike McMeeken is in the running for a first appearance since the 2017 World Cup.

As revealed by SunSport, St Helens’ Jack Welsby is included along with Joe Batchelor, Matty Lees, Alex Walmsley and Tommy Makinson but clubmates Morgan Knowles, Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival are absent through injury.

Warrington’s Daryl Clark missed England but is in the All Stars squad through Scottish descent.

Roby will present the England players with their shirts on Friday

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Roby will present the England players with their shirts on FridayPhoto credit: SWPIX.COM

Wolves winger Matty Ashton could make his England debut on the home turf – while Wane admits missing Wigan’s Liam Marshall was the hardest part but believes he can pull off the World Cup party, as can youngster Harry Smith.

And after watching the entire NRL play their Magic Weekend, the man speaking in regards to the World Cup Finals admits he’s spotted areas England can exploit against Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.

Australian-born former Wigan man Jackson Hastings and Leeds-born Sydney Roosters half-back Sam Walker can make the cut, while Brisbane center Herbie Farnworth’s bicep injury could be a boon if the Lancastrian recovers in time.

Wane added: “Hopefully I’ve found some slight weaknesses that can help us at the World Cup. That was the nub of the journey to get to these games.

“There are slight weaknesses – and they’re only minor ones – that we have to work around and exploit very, very well.

England boss Shaun Wane believes he spotted weaknesses while watching the NRL's Magic Weekend

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England boss Shaun Wane believes he spotted weaknesses while watching the NRL’s Magic WeekendPhoto credit: SWPIX.COM

“Jackson and Sam are in the running, as are many other players, and if someone is Australian but qualifies for England and is superbly much better than what we have, I will watch them without question.

“Herbie would play in the World Cup if he is injury free and recovering, he would have had a long break and will be very, very fit and healthy. Herbie would be fresh and ready.

“And I speak to the players if I see anything, good or bad, about what would have happened if that had happened in a World Cup final.

“‘Is this a World Cup final action, a mistake or a game?’ That’s our terminology, we have to do something in this competition and our standards have to be very, very high.”

Wane admits Roby would be one of the first names on his England squad list

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Wane admits Roby would be one of the first names on his England squad listPhoto credit: SWPIX.COM

ENGLAND SQUAD FACE ALL THE STARS OF THE COMBINED NATIONS

Ashton (Warrington), Batchelor (St Helens), Bateman (Wigan), Cooper (Warrington), Farrell (Wigan), Hall (Hull KR), Lees (St Helens), McIlorum, McMeeken (both Catalans), McShane ( Castleford), Makinson (St Helens), Oledzki (Leeds), Philbin, Ratchford (both Warrington), Tomkins (Catalan, captain), Walmsley (St Helens), Wardle (Huddersfield), Watkins (Salford), Welsby (St . Helens), Williams (Warrington)

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5554251/england-james-roby-shaun-wane/ England boss Shaun Wane is ready to ask James Roby if he wants to end international retirement – Roby’s wife can too

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