Jones takes tips from Guardiola as he looks to guide England to World Cup glory
Eddie Jones has drawn on the coaching wisdom of Pep Guardiola to help shape his own outlook on selection for England’s challenge for the World Cup.
Jones is a self-confessed admirer of the Manchester City manager having been impressed when watching him oversee a training session as coach of Bayern Munich.
And in reading the Spaniard’s book ‘Pep Confidential’, which covers his first season at the German champions, Jones has drawn parallels with the modern landscape of rugby.
England’s World Cup opens against Tonga on September 22 and they must negotiate a four-day turnaround before facing their pivotal Pool C matches against Argentina and France.
In Jones’ eyes, the demands of the schedule means that he will be forever prevented from fielding his strongest XV.
“You never have your best team any more. I was reading a book the other day about Pep’s first year at Bayern,” Jones said.
“They played 60-odd games and for one week he had his full squad available. That’s the reality of top-level physical sports now.
“One of the things we did well in the warm-up games was create that adaptable squad and that’s the way the game is going – having adaptable squads.
“Obviously you have a strongest team, but the reality of putting all your marbles into that team is unrealistic.
“I have a much more open approach to selection because of that and it has evolved quite quickly in the last three or four months.
“It’s exacerbated by the fact that the game has become physically more rigorous and the issues involved with the game means that players will likely be ruled out of games. We have gone to another level in terms of adaptability.”
England are expected to sweep aside tier two nations Tonga and USA despite the proximity of the matches, but Jones sees no value in attempting to open the World Cup with a statement.
“The World Cup is not about that. The World Cup is like the Cheltenham Gold Cup. You have to be in front at the right time and we intend to be in front when the whips are cracking,” Jones said.
“We’ve got to win seven games in a row. And it’s the only tournament in the world where you’ve got to win seven games in a row, on consecutive weeks.
“With the quality of teams having arisen over the last four years in particular, you’ve now got at least four difficult games.
“For us to win the World Cup we’ve got five difficult games in a row so it’s about consistency, resilience, being able to keep a calmness, but at the same time rising to the physical challenge of being at your best.”