Schofield says McNamara must leave post as England head coach


Former Great Britain captain Garry Schofield insists Steve McNamara has to leave his post as England head coach, regardless of Saturday’s result.

McNamara’s contract as England boss expires after the winner takes all test match on Saturday, with speculation around his future already intensifying.

Former Golden Boot winner and current League Express columnist Schofield is adamant a change of coach is required due to a lack of success for England with McNamara at the helm.

“There’s no debate about it, he has to go,” Said Schofield.

“At times he has picked his favourites. The style of rugby he is playing doesn’t make us competitive against the Aussies or New Zealand. He thinks playing the NRL style of play is going to help us beat them, but it is going to make it worse.

“His whole philosophy is wrong. You’re judged by your success and at international level he hasn’t had any, it’s as simple as that.”

It comes following England’s 19-man squad announcement ahead of the third and final test, with Wigan halfback Matty Smith and Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary getting called-up in place of Ben Westwood and Lereoy Cudjoe.

That news means Albert Goldthorpe Medal winner Luke Gale shall end the series without a single appearance, much to the frustration of Schofield.

“What is he picking Matty Smith for? If Matty Smith is in there then he is so for his kicking game, because England haven’t been the best in that department. We need a scrum-half in there, no doubt about it, but would I pick Matty Smith over Luke Gale? No I wouldn’t. Matty Smith, is tried, tested and has failed miserably at this level. He can’t handle the pressure.

“One thing I would say about Smith though is that he seems to play very well with O’Loughlin. If he plays outside him then it could be OK. But if George Williams is coming out of the team then Luke Gale would have been my pick without doubt.”

“It’s bitterly disappointing (that Luke Gale wasn’t picked) because he’s not getting any younger. What Gale brings to the table for you is his support play. The stand-off is the main man, the organiser, whilst Luke Gale would bring that support play needed which Matty Smith doesn’t offer.

“George Williams is only a kid and he has certainly found out that international Rugby League is different to playing week in week out. It’s quicker and you don’t get as much time. Unfortunately for Williams, McNamara has got him wrong. You can’t blame the kid for that, McNamara has to take responsibility. He’s a stand-off, not a scrum-half.”

Schofield also believes that any potential inclusion of McGillvary would be pointless.

“It’s OK having quality wingers, and we have them in Ryan Hall and George Burgess, but it’s no good if we don’t give them service. Quite simply, we all know that Hall and Burgess are quality wingers, as is McGillvary, but there’s no point if you give them no service.

“McGillvary will be exactly the same as the other two wingers; passengers for most of the game. The only time they touched the ball is when they scooted from the play the ball or when they were bringing the ball away from their own try lines. If we aren’t going to get the ball out to the wingers then there’s no point changing it. I can’t really see what McGillvary is going to bring to the team that the other two don’t.”