"Age is no barrier if you are playing well enough," said the England and Great Britain coach, Andy Goodway, who has demonstrated an equally open-minded attitude towards young players by selecting the 19-year-old scrum-half Deacon, who has yet to start a Super League game for Bradford since arriving from Oldham this winter.
"Deacon and Paul Johnson of Wigan played consistently in the Academy last season and we are looking for some form of production line to give us some continuity," Goodway said.
The side that will meet the Welsh at Widnes on 19 July will be captained from stand-off by Steve Blakeley, one of five players from Salford selected.
The Super League leaders, Leeds, also have five in the squad, including a first international call-up for Darren Fleary, who has been arguably the form prop in the competition so far. St Helens' Sean Long and the Sheffield pair of Steve Molly and Keith Senior are the only players in the squad with full Great Britain caps.
Their team-mate, Dale Laughton, is one obvious absentee among Super League's form players, because he has already opted to play for Scotland.
The Welsh coach, Clive Griffiths, will name his squad in two weeks' time and there is the prospect of several players who have returned to rugby union making themselves available.Reuse content