Shaun Wane would be the ideal man to coach England on the Test stage, according to Deal Bell.
Wigan legend Bell played alongside Wane in the 80s and later helped launch his coaching career with his hometown club.
He was surprised when he read his friend would be stepping down at the end of the season – and says Wane will go down as one of the club’s most successful coaches.
“With all of the success he has had I am surprised that for some reason he has never been offered the England coaching role,” said Bell, who was recently on the selection panel which appointed Michael Maguire the New Zealand coach.
“He would be ideal as he is extremely passionate about his country and knows all of the players strengths and weaknesses so well. I just hope he is not lost to the game of rugby league.”
Bell was the Warriors’ rugby executive and Wane worked as a scout before taking a more active role.
He worked his way through the ranks to become head coach at the end of 2011.
“I remember bringing Shaun in to help out with our youth development program and I have had so much pride in watching him progress through the ranks to become one of the most successful Wigan coaches ever,” said Bell.
“Shaun has put a lot of energy into developing young local players and has shown a lot of confidence in introducing these players into Super League, which is very cost effective in these days of salary caps and it certainly helps future retention and recruitment decisions.
“To state the obvious Shaun is very demanding of his players and wants them to be tough on themselves.
“But you can see that he also has a genuine interest in how they develop as people, as this gives him as much satisfaction as lifting trophies.
“This kind of relationship is very important to building trust between a coach and players.
“Shaun can feel very proud of his time in charge of Wigan and I know that making this decision would have been very hard for him and his family as he is such a proud Wiganer.”
l Shaun Wane has moved to shift focus away from himself as his Warriors players aim for a Challenge Cup semi-final place on Saturday.
Wigan face Warrington in the last eight of the competition, and it is Wane’s last chance to reach Wembley with Wigan before he departs at the end of the season.
“It’s more about making sure it’s right for the players,” he said.
“I’ll make sure the players know how to win the game and it’s a must win like any other.”