ENGLAND head coach Shaun Wane has likened Wigan’s Morgan Smithies to Saints’ Morgan Knowles.

Smithies, who has been signed by NRL side Canberra Raiders for 2024, and Warrington Wolves winger or full-back Josh Thewlis have been called into the squad for the third and final test against Tonga at Headingley on Saturday.

And while giving praise to Smithies, Wane revealed he feels the 22-year-old is better in one particular area than his St Helens namesake.

Wane said: “He’s good (Smithies) and his ball-carrying has improved this year which I think it should’ve done.

“He’s all action, similar to Morgan Knowles – not as big but carries the ball better. I like him, he’s a good player.”

The England boss originally said he was not going to bring in additional players but injuries forced his hand.

“We had a few niggles in training from the first test and I thought the second test is going to be brutal, so if we come unstuck with a few players, we are in trouble. So they (Smithies and Thewlis) come in as a back-up. Both are really keen when I rang them and both ready to play.”

Both Smithies and Thewlis have been named in the 19-man squad, but Knowles and his Saints teammate Tommy Makinson are not included. Makinson is sidelined with a wrist injury that saw him miss the second test at Huddersfield, while Knowles was ruled out of the remainder of the series after sustaining a thumb injury in the first test.

Wane’s side took an unassailable 2-0 advantage in the series when they ran out 14-4 winners at Huddersfield but will now be looking towards a potential whitewash with victory at the weekend.

Wane does not want his team to take their foot off the gas as they search for the clean sweep.

“It means a lot to us to get a win this Saturday and I feel like I know my players,” he said.

“The way we talk and trained, they are obsessed with winning this game.

“It’ll be fantastic for our game, they’re number five in the world rankings and have a lot of great athletes who play in the NRL.

“I watch NRL, I know what they’ve got on their team but the way my lads have stood up to them with the physicality when we are dwarfed in size and weight shows a lot of English spirit and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

England 19-man squad for the third Test against Tonga at Headingley on Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm live on BBC1: Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman (Wests Tigers), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark, Ben Currie (both Warrington Wolves), Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Matty Lees (St Helens), Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies (both Wigan Warriors), Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker (both Warrington Wolves), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Williams (Warrington Wolves).