England wing Mark Cueto has sung the praises of international boss Martin Johnson ahead of this autumn’s World Cup.
The 2005 Lions tourist believes England’s team manager is having a major impact on the attitude and application of the entire squad.
Johnson guided England to a first Six Nations title in eight years this spring and Cueto is convinced that the former World Cup winning captain’s own achievements as a player are helping to raise standards in the current England set up.
“He has been brilliant,” said Cueto, who has been a regular starter for England during Johnson’s reign.
“He doesn’t have to work to gain a guy’s respect – he’s got it automatically.
“Having done what he’s done and having been in the squads and in the environments that he’s been in, the experience is massive. You can’t buy that and he’s bringing it to this squad.”
Cueto is currently recovering from knee surgery after opting to cure a long-term niggle while he is sitting out a nine-week ban for making contact with the eye area of Northampton lock Christian Day last month.
The Sale star and 2005 Lion is still expected to play a major role in England’s World Cup challenge and Cueto is convinced Johnson’s men are in good shape ahead of the global gathering in New Zealand.
“We’ve had a good twelve months,” Cueto told Sportsvibe.
”We’ve won the Six Nations, albeit losing to Ireland and missing out on the Grand Slam. That in itself is an achievement, but there was still huge disappointment, which speaks volumes for the attitude and character of the boys that we have got in the squad.
“It would be silly to just be happy with a Six Nations championship. The boys want more than that and know we are capable of more.
“On paper we’re in a better position than in the last World Cup. Results and form weren’t too hot prior to 2007. There were highs and lows in the pool stages, but we still managed to get to the final.
“Off the back of the last twelve months, with the results we’ve got and the way we’ve played, hopefully the fans will expect a lot because we’ll expect a lot of ourselves.”