Former Rochdale Mayfield player Matty Ashton named in England Knights squad

Date published: 27 April 2021

Former Rochdale Mayfield player Matty Ashton has been named as one of 27 England Knights players to prepare for international competition in 2021 and beyond.

Ashton, who plays as a fullback for Warrington Wolves, played junior rugby at Mayfield under the tutelage of Dean Hartley and Marvin Connolly up to under 16 level.

He was trained by Matt Calland (now Rochdale Hornets’ head coach) at under 18s level before making his debut in the Mayfield open age side.

After two seasons with the Mayfield NCL side, Ashton decided to try his luck in Australia and had a successful season with the Mullumbimby Giants team in New South Wales before returning to the UK.

Ashton joined Super League team Warrington Wolves at the start of the 2020 season after a spell at Swinton Lions RLFC, during which he was named Betfred Championship Young Player of the Year.

Discussions around Knights fixtures for 2021 are underway and head coach Paul Anderson’s charges will also be joining sessions with Shaun Wane’s senior squad during the summer.

Players from nine Betfred Super League clubs are represented, with four of them (see squad below) new to the Knights set-up. Anderson wants to help all of them bridge the gap between domestic and senior international competition.

England Knights Head Coach, Paul Anderson, said: “Through the Knights programme we’re investing in the future of England Rugby League. The Knights is part of a performance pathway from schoolboy level upwards and I am excited about the prospect of working with the players who have reached this stage of their development. My job is to prepare them for the next step – the senior international team.

“People scrutinising the squad with a 1-17 scenario in mind will be wasting their time. In the Knights set up we’ll be focusing on helping players make the transition from domestic to international competition, which means exposing them to the critical differences between what they experience day-in and day-out with their clubs and what they can expect as England internationals. The Knights is about developing talent, preparing well and competing hard.  

“For some players the chance to represent the senior side may come at RWLC2021, for others it might be 2025. Shaun is very clear about what he wants and expects from the Knights, and I’m very clear about supporting him.”

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