RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer has hailed the progress made by England, despite Steve McNamara’s team coming third in this year’s Four Nations tournament.
Although the margins of defeat were reduced in comparison with the last Four Nations held Down Under, in 2010, England still failed to make a final on foreign soil.
Nevertheless, Rimmer believes that real progress has been made while Steve McNamara has been in charge, and is optimistic that the young side will enjoy success in the future.
“Whilst it’s always disappointing not to reach the final of any competition, the overriding sensations for England from the Four Nations are frustration at having gone so close, and immense pride at what was almost achieved,” he said.
“The 2014 Four Nations has been another important stepping stone on England’s journey towards international success and the nature of the progress they have made should fill everyone with optimism.
“Many of the most influential players who have been involved in England’s journey over the last five years were missing this autumn following the retirement of Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield, injuries to the likes of James Roby and the loss of the world’s best player, Sam Burgess.
“Those absences created opportunities which a new generation of players grabbed with both hands with Super League Man of Steel Daryl Clark, Dan Sarginson, Kallum Watkins and the Burgess twins, Tom and George all looking world class.
“Those young men, and indeed all the players involved in the England squad, coach Steve McNamara and his staff should feel very proud of where the national team is right now, as should the clubs who are producing such fantastic talent.
“The sport has made a significant investment in its player development pathways in recent years and England’s performance in the last few weeks offers compelling evidence of the outstanding work that is going on at clubs throughout the game.
“I have no doubts that that continued investment, together with the changes to the league structure that are designed to produce more meaningful fixtures packed full of intensity, will enable England to realise their ambitions.”