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England boss Shaun Wane reveals ‘awkward chats’ with stars including Zak Hardaker

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SHAUN WANE admits he has had ‘awkward chats’ with Zak Hardaker to try and make sure he does not miss a THIRD Rugby League World Cup through misbehaviour.

Then again, everyone has had them as he wants national players to dazzle off the field as much as on it.

 Shaun Wane admits he has had 'awkward chats' with Zak Hardaker

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Shaun Wane admits he has had ‘awkward chats’ with Zak HardakerCredit: SWPIX.COM

Wane will actually work with his players on the field for the first time after naming an unchanged 35-man squad – and Wigan star Hardaker is in it.

Having worked with the star at the Warriors, he knows how important things are away from the pitch.

He was turfed out of the 2013 squad for ‘personal reasons’ for which he was punished by then club Leeds. He missed the 2017 tournament after failing a drugs test.

Now with 2021’s World Cup in England looming large, the man in charge has laid what he wants away from rugby down in no uncertain terms.

Wane said: “Zak and I have had a few awkward chats over this lockdown.

 Shaun Wane has laid down what he wants off the field to all England players

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Shaun Wane has laid down what he wants off the field to all England players

“Just to get him to understand what I’m about, what I’ll accept and won’t accept.

“I’ve spoken to everybody about that. Behaviour when representing England is very important to me – that’s everyone in the squad, not just Zak.

“But he’s had the same message. I’m not the same as any other international coach. I’m quite strict on that.

“However, look at how Zak played at the weekend. He was good and very competitive. I’m definitely looking forward to working with him again.”

Wane named an unchanged squad from November’s, meaning Hull’s Jake Connor, Warrington’s Gareth Widdop and Castleford’s Jake Trueman missed out despite fine early season performances.

 Jake Connor has been left out of the latest England squad

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Jake Connor has been left out of the latest England squadCredit: SWPIX.COM

He admitted he now sees Connor as a full back after starring at centre and stand-off but if England were playing this weekend rather than in June against the Combined Nations All Stars, Sam Tomkins would get the nod.

The door is not closed, though, and NRL stars Ryan Sutton, Luke Thompson and Herbie Farnworth have been told it is about what they do rather than what their teams do.

Wane added: “Luke’s a bit like Herbie Farnworth at Brisbane, they’re struggling but he’s showing me things in his game.

“Luke knows it doesn’t matter how Canterbury are going, the only thing I’m bothered about is Luke and his form.

 Luke Thompson has been told it is abut what he does in the NRL, not his Canterbury Bulldogs side

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Luke Thompson has been told it is abut what he does in the NRL, not his Canterbury Bulldogs sideCredit: SWPIX.COM

“Ryan at Canberra does his job really well. He does nothing flashy, he just does his job and that’s why I love him.”

Wane may be national coach but he admits he is looking to get back into club coaching, either in Super League or the NRL.

One thing he will not do, though, is head Down Under as an assistant.

He admitted: “I’m not a good assistant. Michael Maguire might have thought I was OK at Wigan but I’m too opinionated. I need to be in charge.”

This post first appeared on The Sun

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