Eddie Jones: 'England failing to produce world-class players'

Jones: 'England lack world-class players'
© AFP
England head coach Eddie Jones believes that a number of his players are close to following in the footsteps of Jonny Wilkinson and being branded as 'world class'.

Eddie Jones has claimed that England have failed to bring through a world-class star in more than a decade, with Jonny Wilkinson the last player to fall into that category.

The former Newcastle Falcons and Toulon ace was the last Red Rose player to win the World Rugby Player of the Year award, coming out on top in 2003 after helping his nation to World Cup success.

Following a perfect 2016 thus far in terms of results, however, Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and George Ford have all been nominated for the accolade, and Jones is happy with the progress that is now being made to turn his players into world-beaters.

"If you look at the record of English rugby since 2003, there's only been one world-class player produced and that's Jonny Wilkinson," he told reporters. "But some of our guys are moving towards that world-class area. I don't think you get a stamp on your head to say you're world-class now and you've got that for life.

"We've got guys now who are starting to perform at eight out of 10 in every game, and when you do that then you become world class. Now we have a number of players who want to be part of a great team and want to be great players. They're growing in assertiveness and in their desire to be better, which I think is fantastic.

"Before, there hasn't been the desire from the players to push themselves and be great. To do that you have to work that little bit smarter and work that little bit harder."

England have won each of their last 12 games, all but one of which have come under Jones, with Argentina and Australia left to play this autumn.

Eddie Jones watches on during the Six Nations game between Scotland and England on February 6, 2016
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