England players ‘horrified’ by leaked reports – Martin Johnson
Ex-England boss Martin Johnson has pleaded for the leaked comments from his former players to be seen as opinion, not fact
Former England head coach Martin Johnson described the leaking of confidential reports on England’s World Cup failure as one of the lowest points of his career.
Johnson resigned from his role last week but spoke to the media in the wake of the leaked documents, which were based on anonymous comments by his former players about the tournament in New Zealand.
The 41-year-old was left frustrated by the publication of the revelations and pointed out that the remarks by his players were made at an emotional time.
“It [the leak of confidential reports into England’s World Cup campaign] was one of the worst things I have experienced in the game,” said Johnson.
“You don’t like seeing criticism of people, of yourself, of players. Do not take the extreme opinion written in extreme circumstances as fact. You are frustrated because what is being reported is not anywhere near the truth of it. That is not what happened.
“Sometimes you let things go by but the way it has been reported is so inaccurate I thought I had to come here [and speak out] for the good, not only of the management group and the players but the whole game.
“The saddest thing for me is that it doesn’t reflect well on the whole game right now. A lot of the players are horrified at how it has come out and how it is being reported.”
Johnson, who lifted the World Cup in 2003 as England skipper, admitted that certain members of his squad let the team down in New Zealand.
But he refused to comment on how much the widely reported off-field antics had affected England’s performance in their final games at the competition.
“People were frustrated with the way the team was portrayed during the tournament,” Johnson added. “Certain actions by players did let the group down and led us to be portrayed as something we weren’t and something they aren’t but we didn’t help that at the time, so of course there were frustrations.
“How much that affected things on the field, it is difficult to judge. I know it probably affected certain individuals and would have had an effect on the team and eroded a little bit of trust, but as a coaching group we didn’t feel it was having a huge effect on us as we went through to the final games.”