Lancaster shrugs off critics
March 4, 2012
Stuart Lancaster rates his credentials highly © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster believes he possesses the required leadership qualities to be England's next permanent head coach, rejecting claims he lacks the authority needed on the biggest stage.
Lancaster is currently taking charge of the senior team on an interim basis while the RFU sifts through the applications and decides who will take England into the 2015 World Cup.
It is no secret that Lancaster has applied for the full-time role, with the 42-year-old to be interviewed to become Martin Johnson's permanent successor before the end of the Six Nations.
RFU new chief executive Ian Ritchie, who insists that nationality will have no bearing on who is named as England's new coach, is hoping to appoint someone by March 17 and Lancaster is confident his style of leadership will see him given the chance to take the reins permanently.
"Great leaders are forward thinkers and planners, they are honest, they are inspiring and they are technically proficient," Lancaster said in the Daily Mail.
"They are the four things that make great leaders. There are a whole other range of competencies such as emotional intelligence and knowing when to put your arm around someone's shoulder and knowing when to crack the whip. Relationship skills.
"That's completely different to being a manager. A manager is a coordinator. Vision is one part of leadership, coaching is another, being democratic is another, being a pacesetter is another, creating close emotional bonds is another. Great leaders shift between them all and pick the right club out of the bag at the right time.
"Bill Walsh's philosophy pretty much epitomises the type of leader I would like to be."
Lancaster has his detractors - those who believe he does not have the necessary experience of coaching at the highest level. However, the former England Saxons coach, who spent five years as the RFU head of elite player development, insists he has built up all the required skills needed to take the leap.
"There aren't many people who have the ability to judge my coaching ability because there are very few people who have come with me on my coaching journey," Lancaster added. "I would reckon I have spent 80 to 90 per cent of my time on coaching, whether it is 10 years as a teacher, five years as a coach, two as a director of rugby at Leeds and as Saxons coach. I've always been hands-on."
In response to those questioning whether he is able to impose himself at the top level, Lancaster pointed to his earlier decision to omit both Danny Care and Delon Armitage from the Six Nations squad on disciplinary grounds. And he says bringing in a raft of youngsters shows he is not afraid to upset the senior, more established, players.
"There have been some big decisions made around selection, the EPS squad and the coaching team," he said. "There are a lot of big decisions that need to be made. People need to understand this group of players should be together now, give or take, for the next three or four years."
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