George Burgess can go from the brink of retirement to England's World Cup squad

GEORGE Burgess has been told the door is open to go from virtual retirement to England’s World Cup squad.

The prop is relaunching his career at NRL side St George-Illawarra after life changing hip surgery to correct a problem that wrecked his time at Wigan.

And national boss Shaun Wane says if he shows he is fully fit and fires over the course of the season, he could be in contention for a place in the home tournament.

He said: “George is big, he can play and, of course, he’s English.

“He’s certainly one I’m keeping my eye on. If he’s healthy and good enough, I’ll definitely look at bringing him in.

“I watch him just running about now and he looks a lot healthier. The injury he had really restricted him at Wigan.

“And if his form is good enough at the time, I’ll certainly look at bringing him into the England team.”

Wane revealed he is looking to meet all England-qualified players at the NRL’s Magic Weekend in Brisbane in May after two years of Zoom meetings.

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Jackson Hastings, who moved from Wigan to Wests Tigers, is on the list after appearing for Great Britain in 2019.

But because of distances involved, there will be no ‘England NRL’ training sessions, unlike the Super League ones each month – the first of which is tomorrow – with the meetings going through video of their performances.

Wane will, however, try to speak to retired Sam Burgess and James Graham, who both played in the 2017 final loss, as they may get involved.

It is understood Burgess’ recent NRL fine and suspension for taking illicit drugs and threatening behaviour, which has already been served, will be talked over with Rugby Football League chiefs before any involvement can be made formal.

But the coach added: “Hopefully I’ll chat to both of them about their experiences with England and what we can do better.

“Their advice is valuable to me. They’re both very experienced and I’ll meet with them hopefully and discuss more in depth about what they can do, what I can do and see if there’s any way forward.”

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