Sean O'Loughlin hopes Shaun Wane picks him for England... but isn't banking on any favours
Sean O’Loughlin is not expecting any favours from his old coach Shaun Wane - as he eyes a place in the England side for the Ashes series.
Ex-Warriors boss Wane has taken over from Wayne Bennett as national coach for the visit of Australia this year, ahead of the 2021 World Cup.
O'Loughlin, 37, says he "definitely" wants to be involved in this autumn's series against the Kangaroos.
And he may have been heartened by Wane's admission that he will pick him if his form warrants it - even though he plans to retire this year, ruling him out of the World Cup.
O'Loughlin was Wane's skipper for all three of his Grand Final triumphs with Wigan, as well as the World Club Challenge and Challenge Cup triumphs.
"Whoever is coaching the side, if they wanted me to play then I’d definitely play," said the loose forward, who is the incumbent England captain but wasn't selected for Great Britain's tour Down Under.
"But I know Waney, and if I was to get picked then it’d be on merit.
"If I play well enough he’d pick me, but if I wasn’t he’d have no problem telling me that. That’s exactly what you want - you pick that team on who can perform best at international level and I know Waney will be doing that as well.
"It’s a bit different for me now - in previous years it’s been a target to get in.
"I’d have loved to have played for Great Britain, but missing it was a bonus for me. This year, if I got the opportunity I would do it, definitely.
"But it’s not something I’m setting my stall out for now, at my stage of my career."
O'Loughlin, set for a coaching role with Wigan when he hangs up his boots, praised Wane's predecessor.
"I was a big fan of my time under Wayne and working with him," he said.
"He brought a lot to it. As a player I learned a lot from him, and hopefully going into coaching, to see some of the stuff he does I learned from that as well.
"I was a bit disappointed for him, but for Waney to get the role I think he’s made for it.
" He’s been out of the game for a couple of years and he’ll have been itching to get back. The England role is very well suited for him - he’s passionate about his roots and about his rugby.
"I know it’s not a day-to-day role when you get your hands on the players, but he’ll invest a lot of time into it.
"He’ll have his eye on the World Cup in 2021 and will feel it’s something achievable for him and the team. He’ll be focused on getting the best out of all the players and just get to know them all as well. Because he hasn’t got the club ties he can go around and visit all the clubs and the coaches.
"He’ll already have relationships with a lot of them but can get to know the players that he’s maybe not met before. I think he’ll enjoy the role but I think the players will enjoy being coached by him as well.
“I saw him on the Saturday before the appointment and he was telling me about it. I was buzzing for him. With not being involved for the sport for a couple of years I think he’s missed it, and getting this opportunity now he’ll definitely be doing his best to make it his."