CHRIS McQueen may pull on an England shirt after being called up for the Test against Samoa – and he could be joined by Chris Heighington.
The Aussie pair, who qualify through ancestry, are the stand-out names in Wayne Bennett’s party for the May 6 game in Sydney.
Gold Coast Titans star McQueen, whose father Kevin was born in London, has previously said he would love to pull on a white shirt.
And even though he has played for Queensland, the 29-year-old, who can play in the back row or at centre, insists his family will be proud.
The Brisbane-born ace, who is the nephew of Australian Olympic swimmer Geoff Huegill, said: “My old man was born in England and lived there until he was 10.
“His whole family are from England and they moved out here in 1969 but they are still proud Poms.
“When I played for Queensland, dad was right behind me but if I pulled an England jersey on, my whole family would be proud.”
Cronulla veteran Heighington’s inclusion in the 20-man squad is more surprising, especially as Wigan’s Liam Farrell missed out after Bennett vowed not to pick more than three players from one Super League club.
The 34-year-old, who last played for England in 2011, has been part of the Australian’s plans with NRL-based players.
But the inclusion of Heighington, whose family hails from the north east, will raise most eyebrows.
Eight players based in Australia, including Sam and Thomas Burgess, have been included, as have James Graham, Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and Gareth Widdop.
Zak Hardaker returns after a two-year absence and he has been joined by Castleford team-mate Mike McMeeken, while St Helens’ Alex Walmsley has received his first call-up.
Sean O’Loughlin has regained the captaincy from Sam Burgess after missing last year’s Four Nations through injury.
But the likes of Stefan Ratchford, Kevin Brown, Dan Sarginson, Daryl Clark, John Bateman, Mike Cooper, Sam Tomkins, Oliver Gildart and George Burgess have all missed out, mostly through a combination of injury and suspension.
Bennett said: “This is a strong squad that I believe has the talent to do well.
“The game against Samoa will be tough – they have some good players and plenty of spirit but this gives everyone in our squad the opportunity to show what they can do ahead of the World Cup.
“I’m very pleased that we have this chance to play mid-season.
“It gives the team a chance to work and spend time together and allows my coaching team and I the opportunity to take a closer look at how the players can rise to the challenge of playing against a tough and uncompromising opponent.
“There are some quality players left behind in England who have either just missed out or been ruled out through injury and this game enables me to look at some of those who haven’t been in the squad before.”
ENGLAND SQUAD FOR TEST AGAINST SAMOA
S Burgess, T Burgess (both South Sydney), Gale (Castleford), Graham (Canterbury), Hall (Leeds), Hardaker (Castleford), Heighington (Cronulla), Hill (Warrington), Hodgson (Canberra), McGillvary (Huddersfield), McMeeken (Castleford), McQueen (Gold Coast), O’Loughlin (Wigan), Percival (St Helens), Taylor (Hull), Walmsley (St Helens), Watkins (Leeds), Widdop (St George-Illawarra), Williams (Wigan)
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