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Ashton gives backing to Edwards

Chris Ashton believes Shaun Edwards would guarantee success if he was brought into the England coaching set-up.

As a schoolboy in his home town of Wigan, Ashton used to watch and admire Edwards, the most decorated rugby league player of his generation, scoring tries and lifting trophies for Wigan rugby league club and he reckons the former Wasps coach could be the man to help England manager Martin Johnson to World Cup glory in four years' time.

Ashton said at the Launch of his book Splashdown - The Story of my World Cup Year : "I think he (Edwards) would do really well. He's got all the right accreditation to do that job. It will be interesting to see what happens."

He added: "He's always been a successful coach wherever he has been. He's always done well. Even as a player he was unbelievably successful. I think he has got success written all over him and he knows exactly what you need."

Ashton is quick to point out that Johnson should remain as England manager despite a World Cup during which England's players made more headlines off the pitch than they did on it.

But the England wing, famous for his swallow-dive celebrations, insists Johnson needs more support from the top of the Rugby Football Union which is in a state of disarray, with acting chief executive Martyn Thomas set to depart the organisation.

When asked if Johnson remained the right man for the job, Ashton said: "Without doubt in my mind, the perfect man. He's not had too long in that role.

"Now's the time to clear it all, try to change it at the top. It's hard for him (Johnson) having no one to help him out right at the top end (of the RFU). No one to relate back to, no one setting any structure out. He's literally a one-man band at the minute and has had the weight on his head.

"It's a mess at the top. There is no structure there leading it and supporting you and that's what you need."


From Belfast Telegraph