Sutcliffe hoping Knights chance will allow him to shine
Liam Sutcliffe of Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos star Liam Sutcliffe is hoping his selection for the England Knights squad will give him the chance to impress England Head Coach Wayne Bennett and his coaching staff as he looks to the future and the chance to make his Test debut.
Sutcliffe has been named in a new look 25-man England Knights side coached by Paul Anderson. The Knights last played in 2013 but return as part of the newly formed England Performance Unit (EPU) led by Rugby Director, Kevin Sinfield, that aims to develop more world-class England players for all senior squads for the 2021 and 2025 Rugby League World Cups.
Every English based Betfred Super League club is represented in the Knights squad and they are joined by 23-year-old Hooker James Cunningham, who currently plays for Championship side London Broncos and has helped the side from the capital to an unbeaten start to the 2018 Betfred Championship season.
Commenting on his call up, Sutcliffe said, “I am really pleased. When I got the phone call yesterday it was a surprise but I am very happy about it. The England management will be watching all the lads in the Knights squad and we will all be trying to impress and hopefully at some point I can get into the first team.
“I think it is good that there is a step up between club rugby and the full England side now. The training will be in and around those quality players in the first team squad and hopefully we can have a few games to work together as a group,” added the 23-year-old.
Sutcliffe will miss Thursday’s clash with Hull FC at Emerald Headingley with a foot injury suffered in the defeat at Widnes a fortnight ago but he is looking forward to returning to the international fold. He added, “I haven’t played for England since I was 18 in the England Academy so it has been a long time since I have played representative rugby. I am really looking forward to it and getting involved. It is great to see Jack Walker get a call up to the Knights squad as well.
“It proves how well Jack has done since he came into the first team when you see him in a group like this, considering how young he still is. He has never looked out of place and I am sure he will go well,” added Sutcliffe.