MATTY Smith says his Warriors half-back partner George Williams has a bright international future ahead of him.
Williams, 21, was dropped for England’s third and final Test against New Zealand last Saturday, and was candidly self-critical of his own performance in the 9-2 loss at the Olympic Stadium the week before.
He is going to be the bloke that pulls that shirt on for the next eight or 10 yearsMatty Smith
But Smith, whose man-of-the-match performance at the DW Stadium helped England to a 2-1 Test series win in Williams’ absence, thinks the St Pat’s product won’t waste any time in proving his worth.
“He is England’s future,” said Smith.
“He is going to be the bloke that pulls that shirt on for the next eight or 10 years. He’s a great player.
“It’s tough for him but I think he will keep proving with Wigan next year how good he is and he will be here again. He will be winning stuff like this again.”
Smith was also impressed with how Williams handled the disappointment of losing his place in the England side, and thinks the Super League young player of the year’s attitude is beyond his years.
“I’ve spoken to George, and he actually came up to me and said ‘that’s the way it is – that’s the sport’. For a 21-year-old to do that, it just shows how much confidence he’s got,” said Smith.
“George doesn’t need telling anything.
“He’s got that much talent he will come again, and he will probably learn from this.”
Smith and Williams are about to embark on their second season as Wigan’s first choice half-back pairing.
Williams was handed Blake Green’s No.6 shirt when the Australian left the club, which raised eyebrows among some of the Warriors faithful.
But he enjoyed an impressive campaign which produced six tries in 27 appearances, and Smith has backed his team-mate to enjoy another big season for the club.
“Being in this environment, around these players, you can only learn from that as a 21-year-old,” he said.
“He’ll come back stronger and I hope he does that for Wigan next year.”