ENGLAND coach Wayne Bennett has demonstrated his loyalty in selecting his 24-man squad for the 2017 World Cup.

Warrington second-rower Ben Currie and St Helens prop Alex Walmsley are the only new faces, while veteran St Helens hooker James Roby is recalled after a two-year absence.

Bennett has deviated little from his 2016 Four Nations squad and largely kept faith with the team that beat Samoa 30-10 in the mid-season Test in Sydney, with Grand Finalists Leeds and Castleford providing just four players between them.

Zak Hardaker, who has been suspended after testing positive for cocaine, and the injured Chris McQueen are the only players missing from the mid-season team.

Mike Cooper, Daryl Clark, Liam Farrell and George Burgess have all paid the price for below-par seasons and Dan Sarginson is an injury absentee from 2016.

Currie, 23, is chosen despite making just four appearances for his club this year due to injury, having been on England's radar since playing for Ireland in the last World Cup in 2013.

Walmsley was one of three players who were unused after flying 12,000 miles to Sydney in May – clubmate Mark Percival and Hull prop Scott Taylor were the others – but looks certain to make his debut after a tremendous season with his club alongside the evergreen Roby.

The absence of Hardaker will provide another opening for Jonny Lomax, who was arguably England's best performer last year but missed the game against Samoa through injury.

Sam Tomkins of Wigan made a strong push for a recall after being dropped from the elite training squad during his injury-hit start to the year but his club's failure to make the play-off semi-finals denied him one last chance to impress.

Bennett finalised his squad after receiving separate picks from his four assistant coaches – Denis Betts, Paul Anderson, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens – and opted to take 14 forwards and just ten backs, including only two specialist wingers in Ryan Hall and Jermaine McGillvary.

With only two specialist centres in Kallum Watkins and Percival, utility man Stefan Ratchford could prove invaluable in the event of injury, while Currie and John Bateman both have the ability to move into the three-quarter line if necessary.

Bennett said: "Selecting the final 24 with the help of my coaching staff was tough and that was down to the effort and performances of many players throughout the season.

"The competitiveness of Super League and NRL, and knowing the goal of playing for your country in a World Cup, has made many raise their game and become better athletes."

England's Super League-based players will fly out of Manchester on Thursday and join up with their seven NRL colleagues for a ten-day camp in Perth.

They will play a warm-up match against an Affiliated States team on Friday, October 20 to prepare for their opening group game against holders Australia in Melbourne a week later.

Full England squad: Bateman (Wigan), Brown (Warrington), S Burgess (South Sydney), T Burgess (South Sydney), Currie (Warrington), Gale (Castleford), Graham (St George Illawarra), Hall (Leeds), Heighington (Cronulla), Hill (Warrington), Hodgson (Canberra), Lomax (St Helens), McGillvary (Huddersfield), McMeeken (Castleford), O'Loughlin (Wigan, capt), Percival (St Helens), Ratchford (Warrington), Roby (St Helens), Taylor (Hull), Walmsley (St Helens), Watkins (Leeds), Whitehead (Canberra), Widdop (St George Illawarra), Williams (Wigan).