When Wane met Southgate: International bosses share preparations for respective World Cups

Josh McAllister
Shaun Wane Gareth Southgate

England men’s national rugby league coach Shaun Wane and England men’s national football boss Gareth Southgate have been sharing preparations ahead of their own sport’s respective World Cups. 

Wane, 57, will lead England rugby league into his first World Cup as boss of the national side later this autumn on home soil.

Meanwhile, 51-year-old Southgate is preparing for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November. Southgate revealed he had listened to a podcast featuring Wane before reaching out and connecting, first meeting via zoom.

The Watford-born former player was soon a guest at one of Wane’s England get togethers earlier this year. The two have kept in touch since, sharing preparations ahead of a busy end to the year.

The pair met up once again on an extra special bonus on the official Rugby League World Cup podcast.

“Gareth kindly came into one of camps at quite an intense night,” Wane revealed on the podcast. “It was a night when I needed to get my point across about certain things.

“We had a chat and we stayed until the end of the night. I learned loads.

“He’s a talented guy. He’s been through World Cups, home championships and big tournaments where he’s led our country and in this country as well. I learned a lot.

“What I admire about Gareth is he’s very switched on, educated and he came away from our meeting, not really an obsessive rugby league fan, but sent me a message, ‘If I was a player in there today, I’ve have gone away with these points’ and the points that he wrote down were exactly the points I wanted the players to drive home with.

“It convinced me that was a great night.”

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Gareth Southgate on Wane’s impact

Southgate admitted he’s an admirer of rugby league, having lived in both Yorkshire and Lancashire, and watching Fulham as a youngster, including named star Reg Bowden.

He has been the manager of England since 2016, and recently signed a new contract to lead the national side until 2024.

“I listened to a podcast that Shaun did during lockdown and it had a massive impact on me,” said Southgate. “How he saw dealing with people and what he learned from his own experiences through life.

“So we then connected. We had a zoom call during that period and then to be able to come in and meet the team because the challenge he’s got is incredible.

“We would complain about how long we’ve got to prepare and of course Shaun’s got to pull all this together with a really limited preparation time.

“We’re similar going into Qatar, we’ve got five days with the team before our first game.

“That’s one of the challenges for international sport, getting your messages across really quickly and prioritising the areas you want to work on.”

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