World Cup a learning curve for Williams

George Williams says his World Cup experience with England was a good learning curve.

The 23-year-old came off the bench to help England beat Lebanon and France in the group stage at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

And even though he only played two out of a possible six, Williams says the experience in Australia was a good learning curve and one that will stand him in good stead.

He told loverugbyleague.com: “It was a massive experience for me as a person and a player.

“I got the knockback (of not playing past group stage) and didn’t play as much as I wanted but it made me a better person.

“Wayne Bennett (England coach) told me where he thought I was at and gave me some things to go and work on which is good so I know where I need to be this year.”

Williams’ club side, Wigan Warriors, were crowned world champions last February and reached the Challenge Cup final but failed to make the semi-finals of Super League after finishing sixth in the Super 8s.

And there is one defeat in particular that stands out for Williams, making the half-back hungrier than ever for success in 2018.

He added: “The last game of the season (at Wakefield) is in the back of my mind – it was one of the worst games I’ve been involved in for Wigan.

“It was the first year that I had not been involved in a Grand Final and walking away from Wakefield’s ground was not a good feeling. It was a shock to the system but it is something that has made me realise how fortunate I’ve been in the last few years.

“We played on the Sunday and we had a team meeting on the Wednesday which was a review and we had individual meetings on the Thursday so quite a lot got said in the week after it and when we came back, we had an appraisal and got our thoughts out so we’ve had some awkward conversations and rightly so but we are ready to go now.

“I’m definitely hungry to win stuff this year – we all are and we are excited for this season.”

Betfred have the England ace as third favourite to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award, only behind St Helens full-back Ben Barba and current holder Luke Gale.

But Williams is just focusing on playing well for the Warriors.

He said: “I don’t think it’s possible to target the Man of Steel but if you are playing well week in, week out, then it will come.

“I would love to get that and reach them heights but I’ve got to narrow my focus and go small picture before big picture and just try and play well every week.

“I’ve still got to get a lot better and if you look at the best halves in the world like (Jonathan) Thurston and (Cooper) Cronk, they don’t stop talking and naturally, it is different for me and I don’t know them as blokes – they might be loud but it doesn’t come natural to me so it is something that I’m learning.”

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