JONNY Lomax has been ruled out of the Four Nations squad - just 24 hours after he received his debut call up to the England squad.
The St Helens ace was in line to make his international debut in the end-of-season Gillette Four Nations Championship.
Lomax suffered a torn ankle ligaments during Saturday’s Grand Final defeat, which will require surgery.
England boss Steve McNamara had earlier praised Lomax’s development from utility players to one of the country’s outstanding scrum halves.
He said: “At the start of the season he wasn’t sure what is best position was, but he knows now.
“I have been impressed with his display in a Saints shirt, and he is in my squad on merit.
“One of the most pleasing aspects as far as I am concerned is the number of home-grown players, like Lomax, who have come through the academy system.
“At least threequarters of the squad is made up of federation-trained players, which shows the strength we have and the clear pathway we are trying to promote.”
Lomax is joined in the England squad by team-mates James Graham, James Roby and Jon Wilkin – a reflection on their performances in helping Saints claim third spot at the end of the regular engage Super League season, and also reaching the Grand Final.
Michael Shenton had been a racing certainty to feature too, but he suffered a dislocated elbow in the second half of Saturday’s Old Trafford showdown against Leeds Rhinos, and was due to undergo surgery this week.
Three other St Helens players, Scott Moore, Paul Clough and Jamie Foster, have been included in the England Knights’ squad for their autumn programme, which includes a clash with France this Saturday at Leigh Sports Village (kick-off 3pm).
Former Saints scrum-half Matty Smith, now at Salford, is also called up, which means there are six ex-Blackbrook youngsters in the two England squads, a glowing tribute to the St Helens amateurs’ ability to nurture young talent.
England face Wales at Leigh Sports Village (October 29), Australia at Wembley (November 5) and New Zealand at the KC Stadium, Hull (November 12).