Ryan Bertrand described a meeting with England rugby coach Eddie Jones as “a massive inspiration” as the nation’s footballers seek to emulate the exploits of their 15-a-side compatriots.
Jones took over a team fresh from a humiliating group-stage exit at the 2015 World Cup on home soil and transformed their fortunes, winning two Six Nations titles and completing a clean sweep on a tour of Australia en route to equalling New Zealand’s record of 18 consecutive wins.
Gareth Southgate has been tasked with masterminding a similar revival for the football team and Bertrand was also full of praise for the 46-year-old, who brought in Jones for a training-ground visit in the hope the Australian’s winning mentality would rub off on them.
“It’s a massive inspiration, all of his work that precedes his time at England,” Bertrand, speaking ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifying match against Lithuania, said of Jones.
“They were on the edge of a fantastic, record-breaking run and we really dug deep to find out how that was achieved and what measures he implemented into the squad to achieve that sustainable success.
“Not just the temporary success where you get the odd win – to get the wins and make it sustainable.
“It was a real eye-opener and the squad as a whole came out of the meeting a lot closer and our ideas to progress and achieve sustainable success were a lot clearer.
“For me, personally, he was sure. He’s a very confident man and he’s very into his work. As long as you work hard, you will get your success.”
— England (@England) March 25, 2017
The Southampton full-back revealed Southgate’s leadership was more inclusive than under his predecessors, with players encouraged to contribute opinions that may have gone unsaid in previous regimes.
“I think we’ve got more responsibility within the group. Every time we have a meeting it’s very mutual,” he added.
“The thoughts are shared between the team and the coaching staff. We’re encouraged to dissect things and come to conclusions ourselves.
“Then we reflect on it as a whole rather than being solely led by one man.”
England, who suffered a 1-0 friendly loss to Germany on Wednesday, sit top of Group F with 10 points from four matches.
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