LEEDS RHINOS centre Kallum Watkins reckons Wayne Bennett is the man to bring the good times back to England rugby league.
Bennett will be in charge of the national team for the third time when they face Scotland in the Ladbrokes Four Nations at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena tomorrow.
England beat France in Bennett’s debut as boss, two weeks ago, but a 17-16 loss to New Zealand in their Four Nations opener last Saturday left their hopes of reaching the final hanging by a thread.
It has been a mixed start to Bennett’s reign, but Watkins has no doubt the man known as Super Coach will produce results.
“Wayne is quite simple in what he says and what he wants,” Watkins said of the new chief, who has also had two spells in charge of Australia and was a member of New Zealand’s backroom staff when they won the World Cup in 2008.
“He wants the best out of everyone and will let you know if you’re not doing the right thing.
“That’s huge for us in terms of our game.
“He’s trying to get the best out of everyone and that’s really important.
“If we can get the best out of each other and continue to build our confidence, we give ourselves the best chance to be in those situations when it’s tight and tense and make the right decisions.
“That’s the big thing, making the right decision.
“He’s a huge key to how we want to improve and push ourselves up.
“We’re now learning from him and each other. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will gradually build up.”
Of Bennett’s style, Watkins said: “I’d say he’s an arm over the shoulder type sometimes, but he does let you know if you’re not on your game or if there’s a certain little area that you need to push on.
“He’s the man to tell you and you take it on board.
“I’ve had one of those, most of the players have, so we’re all adults and can take that on the chin.
“I want to become a better player, so I’m certainly going to take them on board.”
Watkins is looking to make an impact today after a quiet game last week.
“International level is massively different because the opportunities you get are a lot more limited than at club level,” he said.
“Playing at international level has been a dream since I was a kid, so now it’s about continuing to be confident in myself if I get the ball in my hands.
“In terms of the Kiwi game, I didn’t get the ball enough or at times I didn’t look for the ball enough, so that’s a thing I’ll be looking to improve on.”
England will need Watkins to be at his best tomorrow in what is a must-win match. He admitted: “It’s really important for our next two games that we play the best we can.
“We took a lot of confidence from the last game, but there were certain little moments where we needed to be smart. The boys realise that and have owned up to that. We need to push on now.”