England coach Wayne Bennett has stressed that talent is not the reason the national side consistently fall short at international level.
Saturday’s defeat to New Zealand was the latest in a long line of losses to the world’s top two by a narrow margin, with the 17-16 defeat seriously hindering their chances of reaching the Four Nations final.
But Bennett has warned that it is not a lack of ability which is preventing his side from getting over the line – instead, it is the mere fact that they are beating themselves.
“You have to get away from all the hype you can read about that kind of stuff,” he said.
“Sam Burgess is a huge name in the game in Australia, James Graham is too, and Josh Hodgson is making a name for himself. They learned all their football here in England, they didn’t learn in Australia.
“The boys who play here, there’s no difference in skill levels, the ability to pass and catch.
“The difference is in intensity of competition, not in skills. They had identified losing too many games by just a few points long before I came in.
“We did a lot of things right at the weekend so we’re not behind the eight ball, but we’ve got to tidy up on a couple of areas.
“The number one thing is not to beat yourself – and we beat ourselves on the weekend.”