Shaun Wane welcomes Stuart Pearce to discuss the World Cup with the England squad

England coach Shaun Wane has brought in former international footballer Stuart Pearce to help him with his preparations for the commercial end of the World Cup.

Pearce, known as ‘Psycho’ for his physical approach during his playing career, addressed Wane’s 24-man squad at Robin Park Arena in Wigan ahead of the final Group A clash with Greece at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane.

Wane also tapped into the knowledge of England manager Gareth Southgate on Wednesday morning as he seeks to find an extra edge in his bid to end the country’s 50-year wait for World Cup success.

England v France - Rugby World Cup - Group A - University of Bolton Stadium

England manager Shaun Wane leaves no stone unturned to win the World Cup (PA Images/Martin Rickett)

“Stuart is an impressive Englishman who is very passionate,” Wane said at his weekly press conference. “We learned a lot from him.

“He presented to the group this morning and was really good. He spoke very positively about the camp and how we organized our session.

“We’re going to bring in other people. It’s an important experience for the players, there are other ways to learn that will make us better in rugby league, listening to legends like him was very important.

“I spoke to Gareth (Southgate) this morning via text and invited him to the games and we have other people who are coming to present shirts.

File photo of Gareth Southgate

Shaun Wane is in regular contact with England manager Gareth Southgate (PA Images/John Walton)

St Helens second rower Joe Batchelor, who will make his England debut on Saturday, said: “It was great to have someone with his experience.

“He has the knowledge to represent his country at the highest level, it was a really valuable morning for us.

“He’s a leader, that’s what he was known for, and he taught us lessons about that and being part of a team at a major tournament.”

Canberra striker Elliott Whitehead, who scored tries in England’s early wins over Samoa and France, makes way for Batchelor while Wigan center Kai Pearce-Paul has a chance in the absence of Kallum Watkins, who is ruled out by concussion protocols.

St Helens v Huddersfield Giants - Betfred Super League - Totally Wicked Stadium

Joe Batchelor, who will make his England debut on Saturday, was impressed with a talk given by Stuart Pearce (PA Images/Mike Egerton)

Full-back Sam Tomkins is also rested so George Williams, on the sidelines, takes over after leading England in the absence of his former Wigan team-mate in the warm-up game against Fiji.

Wane has always intended to give every player on his team a run-out before the quarter-finals and he says Saturday’s game will allow him to finalize his best team.

“The team is going to be slightly different but the intention will be the same,” he said. “We have 24 people in the team and I need to see everyone.

“I have two very talented players making their Test debuts for our great country and I’m delighted to see them play. The team I have selected for Saturday is very strong.

England v France - Rugby World Cup - Group A - University of Bolton Stadium

George Williams will captain England against Greece (PA Images/Richard Sellers)

“I want everyone to be fit, ready and hungry. It’s vital that everyone plays and I want to be fair. That’s what you should do. I want them all to play.

“This game will go a long way in shaping my team. I want to choose from 24 players. I want the decision to turn 17 to be very difficult to make.

Greece conceded 106 points in their matches against France and Samoa, but Wane says he won’t take them lightly.

“We did the exact same previews we did for Samoa and France,” he said. “We’re going to show them the respect they deserve.”

Wane says Pearce-Paul, 21, will play spells at center and second against the Greeks.

The former London Broncos player said, “I’m really excited. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I found out I was playing. It put a weird feeling in my stomach.

“It’s an aspiration to grow up wanting to play for your country one day. It’s hard to explain how I feel, but I’m very excited to keep going and show Shaun what I can do.

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