Sam Tomkins pin-pointed the threat of former team-mate Shaun Johnson after being told he will make his first England appearance since 2014 in an unfamiliar role of half-back for the first Test against New Zealand.

The Catalans Dragons-bound star was recalled to the squad earlier this week and was named in head coach Wayne Bennett's line-up at the captain's run on Friday.

Jonny Lomax gets the nod at full-back, which means Tomkins partners George Williams in the halves for the fixture at the KCOM Stadium in Hull.

Ahead of winning his 24th cap, Tomkins said he is fully aware of the danger posed by Johnson, with who he played with during his time at the New Zealand Warriors.

"Johnson can be the heartbeat of a team," Tomkins said in quotes reported on England's official website. 

"They will look to him as one of the more experienced players in the team and certainly the most dominant half-back.

"A lot of play will go through Shaun and, given time, he's one of the best so we've got to make sure we don't let him do what he wants.

"He's naturally one of the best players in the world from broken play – I don't think there's anybody better. He also has some vulnerabilities in his game which we've got to exploit."

Hull FC utility man Jake Connor, who usually plays at stand-off, gets the nod at centre over Mark Percival, while Wigan Warriors star Oliver Gildart will make his debut.


England team: Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Oliver Gildart, Jake Connor, Tommy Makinson, George Williams, Sam Tomkins; Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, James Graham, Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Sean O'Loughlin