Wellens’ praise for England boss Bennett

Paul Wellens
Paul Wellens
Share this article

Paul Wellens paints an entirely different picture of England boss Wayne Bennett than the image often portrayed by the media.

The St Helens legend was speaking shortly after Aussie Bennett agreed a new two-year deal and insisted he is the right man to carry on in the top job.

Wellens - a member of the backroom staff at St Helens and part of what he described as the ‘back field’ team at international level, said: “Public perception of Wayne is vastly different to what it really is.

“He gets on well with everyone, particularly the players under his wings, and often sits at the back of the bus communicating with everyone, as well as having a good laugh and joke.

“On the flip side, Wayne is someone who commands a great deal of respect, and if there is one thing I have learned from him is his communication skills and what he wants from his players.

“He is very clear and concise when he wants to put his message over and also very uncomplicated with it.

“He makes everything seem very simple and also makes it clear what he expects from the players.”

Wello has been involved with the international set up since former boss Steve McNamara invited him on board a few years ago and admits he enjoys every minute of it.

“While I love my job a at Saints, it’s sometimes nice to have a little change and be involved with the England squad, helping me to gain more experience at all levels,” he said.

“I have still on a learning curve, both as a coach and in other aspects of the game, but working with Justin Holbrook at St Helens and Wayne, as well as other club coaches during my career will have done me no harm whatsoever.”

Originally appointed in February 2016, Bennett led the team in the 2016 Four Nations tournament, 2017 Pacific Test victory over Samoa and to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final – England’s first in 22 years.

After a successful 2017 World Cup campaign, Bennett’s two-year contract will see him take charge of the national side for the International Series against New Zealand in 2018 and also for any Great Britain tour in 2019.

Wellens added: “I was not surprised by his decision - he is definitely the right man to take us forward.

“We have made progress since he was appointed and hopefully this trend will continue because we have some vital matches ahead.”