Opinion mixed over Bennett hire

Several former British internationals have voiced their concern over the anticipated appointment of Wayne Bennett as the next coach of England.

According to reports, Bennett will be made the new national team coach next month with Steve McNamara’s contract finished.

The appointment will shock many, considering Bennett’s nationality and his standing in the rugby league world.

The 66-year old has just about seen it all in his four decades as a coach with success in the club, international and State of Origin arenas.

But opinion remains mixed over whether the Australian is the right man to lead England. Previously, David Waite and Tony Smith had spells in charge of England.

Richie Mathers, who played two tests for England in 2005, thought an Englishman should get the role if it is part-time.

“Undoubtedly Wayne Bennett greatest of all time BUT WHY.. If it’s part time surely Brian McDermott, Shaun Wane or Daryl Powell be your pick??,” Mathers tweeted.

Garry Schofield, who played 46 times for Great Britain, believes Bennett is a good choice but he needs to help groom an English coach as his eventual successor.

“Very exciting but hope a top England coach like McDermott, Powell or Wane works with him with a view to taking over,” he tweeted.

Jonathan Davies, who represented Great Britain 10 times, was also concerned about the development pathway for local coaches.

“His knowledge of the game must be a benefit,” Davies tweeted.

“But there must be a progression plan for future British coaches.”

Ex-England, Great Britain and Ireland prop Barrie McDermott, believes any player would want to be coached by Bennett.

“Wayne Bennett has achieved the same success in his chosen sport of rugby league with more than one club and more than one international team,” he wrote for Sky Sports.

“He is tasked to be the man to give short-term success in a major tournament and better still, he could be the man to help some of our best coaches like Brian McDermott, Shaun Wayne or Daryl Powell take their club prowess to the next level.

“I’ve always thought back to my first GB coach Ellery Hanley who had such an aura and presence – I would’ve done anything not to let him down.

“I think Wayne will have the same effect on today’s squad. It’s a positive step but I believe two things must happen.

“Firstly, it must be backed up by some support for all our top coaches so they benefit as much as the players. Secondly, the team must be picked on merit – the best players in their proper positions – not just the players that are playing in the NRL.”

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