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Johnson must be coach - Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward was Johnson's coach during the triumphant 2003 World Cup

World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward says Martin Johnson is the right man to lead England's revival - but only if he is a hands-on coach.

Johnson, who captained England to World Cup glory, is expected to be appointed as England team manager next week.

But Woodward told the Sunday Times that Johnson should "get out on to the training field and coach".

"If he does not take an active part, he will find it hard to gain the respect of the players," added Woodward.

Johnson had further talks with Rugby Football Union director of elite rugby Rob Andrew last week and it is believed that he has demanded complete control of team affairs until the World Cup in 2011.

And Woodward believes that being hands-on is the only way that Johnson will be a success in the role.

"If I were Martin, I would demand the title of head coach," Woodward added. "This reflects the difference between managing and true, out-and-out leadership.

"He must be a leader and a visionary and he must lead England in every single area of elite preparation.

Any relationship between Martin and Rob Andrew will be a forced marriage

Sir Clive Woodward

"I would advise him not to accept the title of team manager. That would be completely wrong and if he does accept it, I would fear greatly for him."

The appointment of a team manager was recommended after the review into the World Cup last autumn, a tournament which saw England reach the final.

No appointment was made before this year's Six Nations, in which England finished runners-up despite a mixed campaign.

Current head coach Brian Ashton, 61, has already said that he would like a team manager to take some of the administrative duties away from him.

But Ashton has stressed that he would want to retain complete responsibility for all rugby-related issues, including selection and tactics.

Woodward believes that Ashton, or South African 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White, should not be involved in the England management structure should Johnson take charge.

Martin Johnson (L) and Sir Clive Woodward
Johnson and Woodward discuss England tactics in 2003

"If Martin keeps Ashton under him or goes for White, it would smack of compromise," said Woodward.

"It could be dangerous. I cannot imagine either Jake or Brian sitting down having a few beers with Martin and chewing the fat all night.

"He has to work with people he respects. If that means sacking medical people, physios, analysts, the lot, then it has to be done.

"Both the last two coaches, Andy Robinson and Ashton, made it impossible for themselves by not going in hard at the start, and they have paid the price."

Woodward also had some harsh words for Andrew, who beat him in the race to become the RFU's elite rugby director.

"Any relationship between Martin and Rob Andrew will be a forced marriage," added Woodward. "At a time when Martin needs support, how supportive will Andrew be given the disgraceful handling of poor Ashton of late?

"Andrew has never coached or managed Test teams, and he was voted by my coaching team in 2003, when he was still at Newcastle, as the worst director of rugby, and by some margin.

"He and his teams seemed ill-prepared and boring and he was, to me, a million miles away from the profile of a successful coach, let alone an international one."


see also
England target Johnson as manager
21 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Ashton's England future unclear
26 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Ashton given 'long-term' contract
20 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union


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