Plan ahead - coach Wane's advice to England squad

New England coach Shaun Wane has offered his advice to players on how to cope with life in lockdown.

Castleford's Liam Watts, pictured in action against Wakefield this year, is in England contention. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Wane named a potential squad in March, two weeks before all rugby league in this country was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A proposed get-together for England and England Knights candidates at Old Trafford on March 23 was cancelled and Wane has not yet had a chance to meet his squad in person, but confirmed he has been keeping in regular contact.

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“I’ve spoken to everybody in the squad and a few other individuals as well as that,” said the former Wigan Warriors coach.

Harry Newman, of Leeds Rhinos,figures in Shaun Wane's England plans. Picture by Steve Riding.

“The thing I do personally, which I’ve been trying to get over to the players I’ve been speaking to, is plan for the day after.

“I know what I want to do tomorrow, I have an idea. I’m just asking players to organise their day, prioritise things to get things done - just make sure you go to bed and you’re a better player.

“They are really good pros, so it has just been generally having a chat and making sure they’re okay.”

Players invited to the England meeting in March included Leeds Rhinos’ Luke Gale and Harry Newman, Wakefield Trinity duo Tom Johnstone and Reece Lyne and Castleford Tigers’ Paul McShane and Liam Watts.

Wakefield tgrinity's Tom Johnstone is also an England contender. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Hull's Josh Griffin, Josh Jones and Scott Taylor were also on the guest list, alongside Jermaine McGillvary of Huddersfield Giants.

Wane has also been discussing players with their Betfred Super League coaches.

He said: “I’ve had a few chats with different head coaches in Super League, around tactics and what sort of behaviours I want from my England players. It has been general, on what sort of things I want to see from an England player.”

Though England’s scheduled three-Test Ashes series against Australia in October and November has been cancelled, Wane is hoping other matches can be arranged at the end of this year, as well as a mid-season international in 2021.

“I won’t need loads of games [to prepare],” he insisted.

“The players are going to see footage of what we’re going to do over the next few weeks and what we’re wanting to do. That’s as important as anything.

“I will never say I am at a disadvantage to someone; if we do not get any games we will have camps, have days and sessions.

"We just have to make them the best quality for those players. I will never, ever make excuses.

“I haven’t got a fixed number of games in my mind, but I would like to have a game at the end of this year and a mid-season game.”

The second-string Knights are possible trial game opponents and Wane predicted: “We would get something out of that because there are certain areas we want to concentrate on and it would be a bit more intense.

"If we have two games, then I think we will be in good shape going into the World Cup.”