Jamie George has urged the Rugby Football Union to give England players a voice when devising the ‘hybrid contracts’ that are expected to be signed off by the end of the year.
The RFU wants to tie 25 players to the contracts that will give head coach Steve Borthwick greater control over frontline members of his squad, who would also continue to be employed by their clubs.
The deals would help keep England stars in the Gallagher Premiership, but while George applauds the increased collaboration between club and country, he insists players should be consulted before they are formalised.
“We just need a bit more clarity around them. It is hard for us because you hear the whispers and you might get excited about it, but at the same time we have to focus on the job at hand,” the Saracens hooker said.
“What I do have is a huge confidence in Steve to make sure we get this right if those central contracts or playing contracts do come in.
“It could be a great thing for English rugby, but it has to be done right. Steve will do it in the absolute right way that does not take away from the club game because that’s something that means a lot to me.
“Hopefully there will be plenty of player influence as well because there are a lot of very intelligent guys in this changing room who have a lot of things to say and care a huge amount about the English game and its development.
“You can see that in the way that a lot of the older guys are speaking about the future of this team and hopefully the RFU use us and we will be heavily involved in those conversations.”
All conversations will take against the positive backdrop of England’s encouraging performance at the World Cup, which saw them finish third after toppling Argentina in the bronze final.
An ugly win was secured six days after their agonising semi-final defeat by South Africa – a result that caused George even greater anguish than losing in the 2019 final to the same opponents.
“This week has actually been a really difficult week – probably the hardest week of my career. I was just sat in my hotel room hitting waves of sadness,” George said.
“I’m still gutted about last week if I’m completely honest and that is going to take a long time for me to get over.
“To be able to come away with a medal is really important. It’s really important for this team, it was really important to send off some absolute legends of the game in the right way.
“But it was also important to send a message to the English public that we will still fight for everything.
“It wasn’t pretty, it was probably one of the scrappiest games I’ve been a part of. But we are coming away with a medal.
“It’s not the colour we wanted and that will give us huge inspiration going into the Six Nations.
“Our foundations are strong. We’ve shown that we can fight and we can put our best foot forward against the best teams in the world.”