Tom Burgess enjoying new leadership role in England dressing rooms

Tom Burgess said he is making sure the younger players in the England squad know just how much of an honour it is to represent their country.

England coach Wayne Bennett will hand out eight debuts when his side face France on Wednesday in a warm-up game for their three-match Test series against New Zealand this autumn.

Burgess may only be 26 himself – but the 21-time international has found himself being more a leader in this England camp more than in previous years.

“When Wayne got us into camp, he had Josh Hodgson and James Graham pick me as a leader, but Sam (Burgess) was worried that I’d overtake him so I didn’t get picked!” he joked.

“I don’t mind being an unofficial a leader and I’m talking to all of the new lads of what playing for England is all about. I’ve got a fair few caps now and I just want to keep going with that and keep getting success.

“You saw in Denver what the young lads could do. I’m really impressed with Jake Connor, I think he’s a great talent and he’s a future England regular. I think Tommy Makinson and Tom Johnstone on the wing will be good for us too.

“I’d love to see more internationals being played. I think the scheduling needs to be looked at over here if I’m honest. There are too many games in the English leagues, I think they should come down to what we play in Australia and it would make it a lot easier for us to have more internationals.

“You can see how many injuries there are at the minute and I think there are 11 missing from the World Cup, so we need to look at that first and then hopefully we can start adding more international fixtures.”

Tom’s brother, Sam, has been ruled out of the autumn internationals with wrist and shoulder injuries – but one of Tom’s other brothers, George, has been recalled back into the England squad for the first time since 2016.

Tom is made up for George to be back in the frame, while admitting that Sam will be a big loss.

“I’m really proud of George as a twin brother but also as a team-mate,” Tom added.

“He was really heartbroken to miss out in those England games in the World Cup which was a big occasion. He’s worked really hard and that’s testament to him, he didn’t take not being selected the wrong way. He took it as though he needed to get back into form and that’s what he did.

“It’s a shame about Sam. He’s a big part of what we try to do here with England.

“He’s one of our leaders but thinking long-term, he has got to get his body right so it is good for Souths and it will be good for England ultimately because he’ll have a good season next year then come into the Lions tour next year, so it’ll be good to have him back in the fold then.”

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