England’s autumn World Cup bid will receive input from an unlikely source after coach Shaun Wane formed a friendship with John Terry.
The ex-Chelsea and national captain and current Aston Villa assistant got to know Wane after gave a presentation to a football coaching seminar he was on. The pair have since kept in touch – and Wane now intends to use Terry’s insight of life at the top as part of his preparations for this year’s competition in this country.
Wane said: “I’m having quite a few chats with John and he’s very knowledgeable. I did a chat for UEFA coaching badge attendees and he was one of them. What I talked about was standards, what we did at Wigan and what worked for us.
“He loved it, we’ve stayed in touch since and we have regular Zooms where I ask him questions and he asks me questions. He’s going to come up to training definitely and is really keen. He’s very smart, and he loves our way of thinking in rugby league.
“He’s a very proud Englishman John, and Lee Westwood is another who’s a big league fan and he’ll be getting involved with us. It’s important for players to get a perspective from other sports.
“I love speaking to people like that about how they train, what their thought process is and what their standards are – and I’m assuming our players will have a thirst for that as well.”
Wane has confirmed plans for a mid-season match against an Exiles side made up of Super League’s top overseas stars, and another pre-World Cup warm-up closer to the tournament, possibly against Fiji.
The former Wigan coach has already shown a ruthless side in omitting seven players from a training squad when he revised it midway through last year – and insists he will continue with a brutally straight-forward approach. Wane added: “I spoke to them all on Zoom and they were fantastic, brilliant and agreed with what I said.
“I was very, very honest and I have a belief that players want to know where they stand, and that you tell everybody everything. I did that with those players and I expect to put those players back in the squad throughout the year.
“If Chris Hill and Jack Hughes are outstanding for Warrington, they’re back in. Whoever’s killing it towards the back end this year, they will start for me in the opening match at Newcastle against Samoa and I’ve stressed that to every single player.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’ve two tests or 200 – if I believe you can win me that test match, you will play. I don’t tell lies, the players trust me and that’s what will happen.”