Kevin Sinfield feels foundations laid by Steve McNamara will stand England in good stead
Last Updated: 01/05/13 9:40pm
Kevin Sinfield - Extended Interview
Captain Kevin Sinfield believes the foundations are now in place for England to go on and challenge for international honours under Steve McNamara.
Since he took over as England coach in 2010, McNamara has adopted a series of measures to establish more regular get-togethers and a greater sense of team spirit.
Sinfield insists those measures are now bearing fruit and feels the current England team has the ideal mix of youth, experience and character.
"I just think to represent your country you've got to show some attributes of being a great leader, whether you're an 18-year-old kid on debut or have been around the block like Adrian Morley who has 50-odd caps, you need to be able to lead and be exceptional at what you do," Sinfield told Boots 'N' All on Sky Sports.
"Thankfully that England side is full of leaders now and people that know how to get the best out of themselves. The best staff available are now in and around the England team and there's a great mix, all we've got to do is play well and that's the challenge for all of us.
"I think the beauty of the current England set-up is that there are so many leaders in the group. I'd have to compare it to my time at Leeds where there have always been five, six, seven outstanding leaders in their own right. The group's really healthy, the senior players are very, very strong.
"Because of what's been created in the last 24-30 months by Steve, there's a lot of togetherness in the group. It's not like you're going in there and you've got to pull 30 guys together and make sure you're going in the right direction, all that prep has been done now. The lads go in and the togetherness is there straightaway.
"It's been a great job (being captain) and I've been immensely proud doing it, but whether it's me or someone else I think the ingredients are there for a really successful England side because of what's happened in the last 24-30 months."
World Cup target
Although October's World Cup remains the long-term goal, of more immediate concern to Sinfield and co is next month's forthcoming international with the Exiles.
Having lost two of their three clashes with Super League's overseas contingent over the past couple of years, Sinfield insists England are determined to put on a show in this year's one-off clash.
"Any opportunity you get to get together as a group you get so much from, but to actually have a hit-out - a game where you're playing against the best overseas players in this competition, and there are a lot of them - is great," he continued.
"We want a competitive fixture, we want to test ourselves and see where we are and get our preparation right for the back-end of the year.
"In terms of what you're going to get out of it there's nothing better than getting out and playing. You can do all the training you want to do, but to be really tested out on the field is where we'll get the most benefit.
"You want to win every time you take the field, but certainly with what's happened the last two years when we've lost two games.
"This time it's our one and only hit-out so we need to get it right, we need to prepare properly and hit the ground running so that come October time we know what extra preparation we'll need. It's a really important fixture in that sense, but it's about winning as well."