JOSH McGuire believes the key for England’s Test development could hang with the kids.
For Warrington’s former Australia star believes exposing the country’s top young talent to the best of the southern hemisphere could make them even better.
The loose forward denied the Lions a World Cup victory in 2017 when he was part of Australia’s side that won the final 6-0.
Had he not put building trust at his new club top of his priority list, he could have done so again with Samoa, who he qualifies for through his mother.
And he suspects the difference on the biggest of stages comes much earlier in players’ careers, so England taking on Australia and New Zealand’s best more often could help.
McGuire said: “England needs to play more Tests. England needs more junior Tests, like against the Australian Schoolboys.
“It’s important the likes of Matty Nicholson and Leon Hayes get regular games at that level. It’s important for their development and for Super League they do.
“Leon could be the next Jonny Lomax or George Williams. If we can give them games against the Junior Kangaroos or Junior Kiwis, that would be the best thing.”
McGuire, 32, was in the Old Trafford stands as his birthplace ended his heritage nation’s hopes of pulling off the ultimate shock after beating England in the World Cup semi-final.
He could easily have been on the pitch but opted to work alongside his new clubmates after moving from NRL side St George-Illawarra.
And he is already in no doubt youngster Nicholson will make it in an England shirt, adding: “Matty’s a special player. There’s no doubt about that.
“He’s a big future ahead of him. He needs to worry about himself, though, and not about the other stuff.
“Matty will wear the white and red jersey but he’ll determine when he does. The next World Cup should definitely be on his radar.
“I was going to play at the World Cup for Samoa but I talked to the club and made the decision that it was best I came straight in for pre-season.
“Had I played at the World Cup, I wouldn’t have got here until January and I would’ve missed an opportunity to build those relationships.
“I visited both Australia and Samoa in camp but at no point did I wonder, ‘I wish I was playing,’ as this was more important to me.”
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