Watson admits he felt Wayne Bennett should have been given England extension

Salford coach Ian Watson admits he has sympathy for Wayne Bennett after the decision not to renew his contract as England coach – saying he would have liked to have seen the Australian given the opportunity to finish the job he started in charge of the national side.

Watson was part of Bennett’s backroom staff for last year’s Great Britain tour of the southern hemisphere, and says he would be interested in a role with Shaun Wane’s team moving forward after the former Wigan coach was named as Bennett’s replacement on a two-year deal.

However, Watson admitted he felt for Bennett after it was decided by the RFL that he would not be retained.

“I feel a bit for Wayne; I think he did a great job and got England to the World Cup final, and should have been given the opportunity to take that forward and see if he could finish the job,” he said.

“His aim at the end of the day was to win a World Cup final and we felt he was on course to do that. I feel for him a little bit – but I think Shaun is a good appointment.”

When asked if he would like to remain as part of the national team backroom staff, Watson said: “We’ll see what happens. England did have their own backroom team when Wayne was there, and whether he would have kept that setup, I don’t know.

“You want to be involved at the top end of the game, working with those players and it’s something I’d definitely look at, but that’s a decision for Shaun, not for me.

“It’s a good move for Shaun – he’s a good coach. He’s won championship after championship, and he’s been in a high-performance environment at Scotland so he knows how it all works in terms of a different sport. He’ll be well-positioned to come into the head coaching position.”