Steve McNamara hopes Sam Burgess will return to rugby league

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess began his professional career under Steve McNamara at Bradford Bulls
Rugby League Four Nations
Venue: Australia & New Zealand Dates: 25 October-15 November
Coverage: All England matches live on BBC TV, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

England coach Steve McNamara hopes departing forward Sam Burgess will return to rugby league in the future.

Burgess, 25, will join rugby union side Bath after winning the NRL Grand Final with South Sydney Rabbitohs.

He has had a metal plate inserted in his face after fracturing his cheekbone and eye socket in Sunday's final.

"Sam has taken on a new challenge and at some stage in his career, he will come back to play rugby league," McNamara told BBC Sport.

"I certainly hope so anyway because he is going to be missed."

Burgess began his professional career under McNamara at Bradford Bulls in 2006, spending three years with the Super League side before being lured to Australia by film star Russell Crowe, owner of the Rabbitohs.

England's Four Nations fixtures
Saturday, 25 October: England v Samoa, Brisbane (07:00 BST)
Sunday, 2 November: England v Australia, Melbourne (05:00 GMT)
Saturday, 8 November: England v New Zealand, Dunedin (07:00 GMT)
Saturday, 15 November: Final, Wellington (07:45 GMT)

He went on to become a huge success in his four seasons down under, winning the NRL title in his last game for the Rabbitohs against Canterbury Bulldogs, alongside twin brothers George and Tom.

Burgess also became the first non-Australian to win the Clive Churchill medal for the man of the match, despite suffering his injury in the opening seconds following a tackle by fellow Englishman James Graham.

The Dewsbury man had surgery on Tuesday and Bath are unsure when he will fly to England to join up with their squad.

McNamara feels the national side will be somewhat depleted without the inclusion of Burgess.

"Sam was one of our genuine world-class players," he added. "When you lose someone of his calibre from the field of play, that is going to hit you. He has always been great for us.

"When he has been with the group, he has been a breath of fresh air and been great company to be around so he will be sorely missed."

Steve McNamara
"The emergence of other young English talents in Super League is there to be seen, such as the performances of Daryl Clark for Castleford this season," says McNamara.

McNamara, who is assistant at Australia side Sydney Roosters, named his 24-man squad for the Four Nations which includes nine uncapped players.

The former Great Britain international says there is now an opening for a player to "seize the opportunity" following Burgess's departure.

"The mantle is now there for the next English superstar to take that spot," said McNamara. "We have some players who are fighting very hard for that.

"The performance of James Graham throughout the season and in the Grand Final suggests he is up there with the very best players in world rugby league at this moment in time.

"The emergence of other young English talents in Super League is there to be seen, such as the performances of Daryl Clark for Castleford this season. There is an opportunity for someone like this to seize that opportunity."

Sam Burgess

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