Team player, individual brilliance, and that raw authentic emotion that makes you fall in love with sport.
According to legendary half-back Danny McGuire, England’s new playmaker Mikey Lewis has “cemented” his place on the international stage following a man of the match debut in the first test win over Tonga.
Lewis marked the occasion with a fine solo try, and it was his line break that set up Toby King for England’s opener.
McGuire played with Lewis in his final season before retiring, and has coached the Hull KR star ever since.
The Leeds Rhinos legend has just left Rovers, moving to Castleford Tigers where he will take over as assistant coach this winter, number two to Craig Lingard.
Yet having encouraged the 22-year old to showcase his individual brilliance with off the cuff plays, eight-time Grand Final winner McGuire has revealed it is actually another aspect of his game that has landed Lewis international recognition.
“We have worked a lot with Mikey this year on the ability to be part of a team,” McGuire told Love Rugby League.
“At the back end of the season, we saw him more as a team player, understanding his game, the subtleties of half-back play, a kicking game and creating more for those around him.
“It was amazing to see what he did for England and the potential I have seen over the last few years was kind of unearthed in that game.
“He has always had that individual brilliance, the stuff you encourage them to hold on to but can’t really coach.
“What he did against Tonga is what Mikey does every day at Hull KR – individual flair and the ability to do things that other players can’t do.”
Mikey Lewis has all the attributes to be a ‘world-class’ half-back, says Danny McGuire
McGuire believes Lewis has finally found his natural position, hinting that he may have been wrongly used in previous teams.
And he believes the partnership with Harry Smith may actually have given England head coach Shaun Wane a big headache when captain George Williams is available following suspension.
McGuire said: “At some points he (Lewis) has had coaches think he is more of a full-back, but I think he showed for England that he has all the attributes to be a world-class half-back now.
“His combination with Harry Smith was really good, two young British half-backs, one more controlled with a nice kicking game and the other who can make things happen off the cuff.
“Mikey looks like an international already and could be a superstar. Fans want to watch players who excite you.
“Our game can be too much about kicking to the corner and strangling the opposition. We sometimes lose this individual brilliance. I love coaching players to go and express themselves and we should never dampen that as a sport.
“Hopefully that is him now cemented on the international stage and he will keep improving.”