Kruise Leeming’s View From The Pitch: How I got to chat with England manager Gareth Southgate

WE HAD an England get-together on Monday, which was a good experience, especially because Gareth Southgate was the guest speaker.

By Kruise Leeming
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 5:17 am

I drove over to Manchester for it after training with Leeds and the whole squad met in a hotel.

It was good to have a change of scenery and meet up with some old friends.

I spoke to Shaun Wane, the England coach and we looked at some footage and talked about my game, what I am doing well and what I need to improve on.

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England's head coach Gareth Southgate. Picture: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar.

Gareth Southgate was excellent and it was good to hear the England football manager’s perspective on things.

He spoke about his role and why he is patriotic towards England and his history in the World Cup, playing for England and how he was brought up.

It was nice to hear from him and I was really interested in what he said about the pressures he is under.

That’s relatable to what I am going through at Leeds at the minute and it was good to hear his take on the inside and outside pressure of performing on the biggest stage.

England RL head coach Shaun Wane. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/

When you play a professional sport, whether it’s a relatively small one like ours or a huge, global game such as football, you all seem to go through similar experiences.

He lives in Harrogate and he is aware of how big rugby league is in the north.

I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying he is not an expert on our game, but he is a rugby league fan and has been to games at Headingley.

He said he has grown up watching rugby, he has always been into it and he appreciates what we put our bodies through and what we do on a day-to-day basis.

Leeds Rhinos interim head coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/

He was a wonderful guest to have. I got to say ‘hello’ to him and ‘thanks’ for the talk and we wished each other ‘good luck’, which was nice.

It was good to get away from things for a few hours and see some different people, but my main focus is very much on Leeds.

The better Leeds play, hopefully the better I play and that gives me a bigger chance of getting in the World Cup squad.

Ultimately, if we are playing well and winning a lot of games, it should highlight my own performances. We don’t have a game this weekend, unfortunately.

We’d all love to be getting ready for a Challenge Cup quarter-final, but it wasn’t to be and we have to make the most of the time we’ve got to prepare for our next league match, against Huddersfield next week.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan was a fierce competitor and a hard worker, with a winning mentality and he is trying to instil that in us now he’s interim head coach.

That’s brilliant, it is exactly what we need at the minute and probably what we have been missing.

We have got a lot of stars and big names in our team, but it’s the one percenters we have missed out on.

We have got to work for each other and make sure we are a solid team, rather than 13 individuals.

That’s what Jonesy has been working on.

He has been working us hard and I think that’s the only thing that does the trick when you’re in these spots, hard work. That’s what gets you out of it; you can talk all you want, but it’s only when you start to do the hard work that you reap the benefits.

That is what we are doing at the minute and it will pay off.

Last week we showed a lot of effort and we dug in for each other, but we can’t just do it for 10 minutes and then let our heads drop if something goes wrong. It is about putting 80 minutes together. We have watched the Saints game back and there were parts of it when we were doing what we’ve spoken about. The mood in the camp is lifting, Jonesy has been brilliant and we are building a foundation now that is going to take us forward.

Jonesy has said he can’t really remember the games when he has won Grand Finals, it is the people who stay in his memory.

It’s the same for us now. If we can keep this group together and turn things around, we will cherish it so much more than a team that has been winning all year.