England close to tournament success: Schofield
The England side are just one or two players away from winning the Four Nations and possibly the 2017 Rugby League World Cup according to Great Britain legend Garry Schofield.
As the most capped player in Great Britain history and captain of their 1992 World Cup final side, Schofield knows exactly what it takes to build a successful squad and he believes this England team is teetering on the brink of success.
Coaching changes have England looking strong off the field, while established NRL players like Josh Hodgson, Sam Burgess, James Graham and Elliott Whitehead among others have the experience to lead this team to the promised land.
Schofield still isn’t set on the flair of the nation's halves pairing however, and believes that could be the Achilles heel in England's quest for Four Nations and World Cup glory.
"Obviously with the turnover what we've got now from a coaching point of view, we've got Denis Betts who's an ex-international, Paul Anderson has come in there now and Paul Wellens is in there too so we've got plenty of experience from there," Schofield said.
"We've got a good side, a lot of NRL experience but my only issue is the creativity point of view from the halves.
"If I'm honest, if Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston were available for England, I wouldn't just be confident that we’d win the Four Nations, we'd win the World Cup too, I'd assure you.
"I think it's telling you we've got a good forward pack and I've got no issue with them, we've got some good outside backs and a fullback who's got plenty of pace, but we're just lacking halfbacks with that creativity.
"If we can get the creativity right, the forward pack will get us good field position, so if we can create then who knows, maybe we could put a marker down in the Four Nations for the World Cup in 12 months time."
Before England can turn their attention to the World Cup they've got the Four Nations to prepare for, with Wayne Bennett's men to face New Zealand in their opening match on Saturday afternoon in Huddersfield (kick-off Sunday 12.30am AEDT).
Schofield knows Bennett will use the tournament as a guide for how he should shape his World Cup squad, and the former Great Britain star has total faith in Bennett's plans.
"Wayne Bennett may just be using it to look at the players and get the right combinations and who we can trust in those positions, because the pressure is going to be on, there's no doubt about that so we're going to be looking to put a marker down," Schofield said.
"If we don't manage to win the Four Nations will he be too beaten up about it? Maybe not, because we all know he was a part of New Zealand when they won it back in 2008 so Wayne Bennett could be the factor."
As for Bennett's appointment as the England head coach Schofield admitted to wanting a home-grown mentor instead, but was more than happy that the RFL landed the Broncos coach, an appointment announced in February.
"To be honest, and myself included, we wanted an English coach," Schofield said.
"But if we are going Australian well then there's nobody better than Wayne Bennett so there's no issues there whatsoever.
"We all wanted a British coach, we've got some good coaches in England, but if we're going Australian then you can't have anybody bigger than Wayne Bennett, so hopefully he can do the job for us."