New England assistant coach Martin Gleeson is confident he can get the World Cup runners-up firing again in attack.
The 41-year-old got to work with Eddie Jones’ squad for the first time this week after a 45-man group gathered at The Lensbury on Sunday for a three-day camp.
Gleeson is the man tasked with unlocking an attack which struggled in the Six Nations, but one that has been boosted by the introduction of several exciting new players into the fold such as Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith.
While the former Wasps coach has only worked in rugby union since 2019, having been a two-time Super League winner during a successful playing career in the other code, he is determined to show he can make another seamless step up but this time at international level.
“It was something I wanted to achieve,” Gleeson admitted when asked about the prospect of coaching his country.
“It has probably come a little quicker than I expected but it is something I am ready for. I have the bit between my teeth about it and I’m looking forward to it.
“I back myself in what I do. Eddie wanted me for this job, he thinks I can get the best out of the exciting group of players they have got. Today was the first good day on the pitch and there is some real good synergy between staff and players.”
During Gleeson’s conversations with the England head coach before he accepted the job, the duo spoke about the vision for a team desperate to add to the country’s solitary World Cup crown from 2003.
Since a largely impressive World Cup in Japan in 2019, where they were beaten by South Africa in the final, Jones’ men have gone backwards with a fifth-placed finish in the Six Nations indicative of a team at a crossroads.
The result has been an overhaul of the playing personnel with experienced quartet George Ford Jamie George and Billy and Mako Vunipola jettisoned from the three-day camp while eight uncapped players were also included alongside 16 faces who featured in the summer Tests with USA and Canada.
Gleeson added on his new boss: “We spoke about the direction the game is going and the vision for England going forward, the ideas I had around that and he had around it.
“I think it was a good fit for the direction the team wants to go in and it is something that suits me down to the ground, especially with the calibre of players we have got here.
“Hopefully we are on the start of a nice little journey. Our aim is to win the World Cup in two years time and this is the start of the path towards that.”
With captain Owen Farrell retained by Jones despite his inconsistent form, the Saracens ace looks set to continue as a key figure in the England set-up.
He welcomed his fellow Wigan man Gleeson into the fold this week with the new attack coach a former team-mate of Owen’s dad Andy during their time with Great Britain in rugby league.
“Owen has been great and the mix we have got between that youth and experience, the players have mixed well and there is a good vibe about the place,” he said.
“I have managed to get a good connection with all the players and Owen as well so it has been invaluable this little mini-camp for me personally. Hopefully for the players as well and it is something we can kick on from.
“We want to be a team who can break down all kinds of defences.”
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