England coach Steve McNamara names seven uncapped players

Sam Tomkins
Sam Tomkins joined NRL side NZ Warriors in 2013 for a world-record fee of about £700,000
England v New Zealand Test series
BBC TV coverage: First Test - Sunday 1 Nov, 16:30-19:00 on BBC Two; Second Test - Saturday 7 Nov, 14:00-16:30, BBC One; Third Test - Saturday 14 Nov, 12:45-15:00, BBC One.

England coach Steve McNamara has named seven uncapped players in his squad for the international series against France and New Zealand.

Among them are Super League's top try-scorer - Jermaine McGillvary of Huddersfield - and young player of the year - Wigan's George Williams.

The 24-man squad will be captained by Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin.

"We have a tremendous challenge against the best rugby league nation in the world," said McNamara.

Among the other uncapped players are Williams's Wigan team-mates John Bateman and Joe Burgess, Castleford Tigers half-back Luke Gale and NRL-based forward Mike Cooper, who toured with the national side last year but is yet to be capped.

St Helens hooker James Roby, Huddersfield centre Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington's Ben Westwood all return after missing out 12 months ago through injury.

Six players - South Sydney Rabbitohs' George Burgess, St Helens' Alex Walmsley, Stevie Ward of Leeds, Brisbane Broncos' Jack Reed, Warrington's Stefan Ratchford and Wigan's Joel Tomkins - have not been considered because of close-season surgery.

Who will England face this autumn?

England start the series against France at Leigh Sports Village on 24 October.

A three-game series against New Zealand starts in Hull on 1 November before games at the Olympic Stadium on 7 November and the DW Stadium in Wigan on 14 November.

New Zealand, who beat Australia in last year's Four Nations final, are missing a number of key figures including captain Simon Mannering, key prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, halves Kieran Foran, Tommy Leuluai and Shaun Johnson plus wing Manu Vatuvei.

McNamara added: "New Zealand will be formidable opponents and we spent a long time selecting this squad and there were some close calls with a lot of competition for places.

"We are fully aware that we will need to work exceptionally hard and play to a very high level to win the tournament. Our aim is to win our first home series against southern hemisphere opposition since Great Britain defeated New Zealand in 2007."

England squad: John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Liam Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin (c), Matty Smith, George Williams (Wigan), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Mike Cooper, Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra), Leroy Cudjoe, Brett Ferres, Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), James Roby (St Helens), Sam Tomkins (NZ Warriors), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons).

Top Stories