Aitken: Widdop Key For England
By Corey Rosser (NRL.com)
Scotland centre Euan Aitken believes England should recall his St George Illawarra teammate Gareth Widdop to give themselves the best chance of producing an upset result against Australia this weekend.
It comes after Widdop was dropped for last weekend's clash against Aitken's Bravehearts side in Coventry, in favour of 22-year-old standoff George Williams, who made ideal use of his opportunity by securing man-of-the-match honours in the 38-12 England victory.
But Aitken said his experience with Widdop at club level in the NRL Premiership meant he couldn't look past him as the man for the job in the England halves.
"I was surprised that Gareth didn't actually play in our game… but he is definitely a quality player and has been one of the Dragons' best over the last couple of years," Aitken told NRL.com.
"He has been leading from the front at club level, but I am not sure what is going on there with selections.
"England are definitely better if he gets picked.
"He has got a lot of experience there and has played for England in the last couple of years and plays in the hardest competition in the world which is the NRL.
"He is a quality player and he has proven that time and time again, I think he is best for England in that starting spot."
The pathway back into the England 17 only got harder for Widdop after last weekend, with replacement No.6 Williams enjoying a fine night at the office which included three try assists and 84 run metres.
With the team facing a must-win scenario against the Kangaroos in London this Monday morning (AEDT), coach Wayne Bennett could be tempted to stick with the in-form Williams, who admitted he isn't sure whether or not he will be playing.
"I don't know [if I have done enough to keep my spot] I will just train hard and see what Wayne wants to do," Williams said.
"I thought I did OK, just OK… it took me a while to get into the game but once we started posting points I felt more relaxed and eased."