Sinfield wants England future

  • Last Updated: January 27 2014, 22:21 GMT

Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield has revealed he wants to continue playing for England.

Kevin Sinfield: Wants to stay on with England - and as captain
Kevin Sinfield: Wants to stay on with England - and as captain

The 33-year-old Rhinos stand-off is also keen to retain the captaincy for the end-of-season Four Nations Series, which is due to be held in the southern hemisphere.

Speaking publicly for the first time since England's heart-breaking World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand last November, Sinfield welcomed the reappointment of Steve McNamara as head coach and spoke of the disciplinary breaches that marred England's preparations.

Sinfield, who took over the England captaincy from Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock in the summer of 2012, said at the Rhinos' pre-season media day that he never had any intention of stepping down.

"I got asked the question about whether I'd retire within minutes of coming out of the dressing room (at Wembley in November) and at that minute I didn't want to talk about rugby," he said.

"It was an easy way to answer it but, if Steve feels I can do a job, I'm certainly available.

"To represent your country is the highest honour you can achieve."

Sinfield is now expected to get the nod to continue as captain, although he is not taking his reappointment for granted.

"We'll see what happens with Steve," he added. "I think it was important he kept the job. I thought he did a fantastic job over the last three years.

"We had quite a big turnaround of senior players in that time and I think there is a new group of leaders emerging in that team."

Sinfield was 20 seconds away from getting the chance to lead England out in the World Cup final but he says he has come to terms with Shaun Johnson's last-gasp try that won the game for New Zealand.

"We weren't that far off but the reality is we got beat and that last 20 seconds hurt," he said. "We crack on and face the next challenge.

"I think you've got to be able to put it into proportion - nobody got killed.

"As sportsmen, you hate people saying to you 'it's only a game' but, when it comes down to it, it is only a game. Although it hurts so much, you've got to move forward."

England's training camp was continually disrupted by alcohol-fuelled breaches of team discipline that the management tried to keep a lid on.

Gareth Hock was dismissed before the tournament got under way while Rangi Chase, Michael McIlorum and Zak Hardaker also left the camp but Sinfield says the disruptions served to bring the rest of the squad closer together.

"It was certainly challenging but very enjoyable as well," he said. "As a captain, I got more out of that six weeks than I've done in the last 10 years at Leeds.

"When you have a chance to represent your country, you've got to give up six or eight weeks of your life, living, training and behaving a certain way.

"Unfortunately some people fell a little bit short of that. You can't afford to have that at that level. It hurts the group too much.

"I think we grew strength from it as well. We got some unity from it. It certainly didn't rip the camp wide open, if anything it brought us closer together.

"Without those things happening, I don't know if the squad would have been as tight.

"I'll put on record that 95 per cent of everybody involved in that camp was absolutely brilliant and shared something that has never been shared before at international level in the 13 years I've been a part of it.

"Something was built there that hopefully, if it is harnessed, could lead to some special times not too far ahead."


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