“Massively, it’s a different energy,” he said from the team’s camp in Jersey. “I remember when I was 20, 21, when I came into this environment, I didn’t expect much in terms of playing but these guys coming in… Adam Radwan, Freddie Steward – they’re the bee’s knees, aren’t they? It’s a different situation to me. The Geordie boys are warmly welcomed, they’re funny lads, and all the other youngsters… I love the way they contribute. There’s a nice little buzz.”
Genge, who was England’s vice-captain for the summer fixtures against USA and Canada and is high-flying Leicester’s skipper, finds himself in a leadership role, and believes it is incumbent on senior figures to “empower these young boys”. Genge said the emphasis this week, with a camp in Jersey and no fixture at the weekend, was on forging bonds with new team-mates on and off the field.
“What’s important for us as senior players now is to empower these young boys,” said Genge. “I think that’s something we maybe didn’t do very well in the past, was probably… we had all these caps, this wealth of experience and great players who had all these games under their belts, if one of them got injured we couldn’t really replace it like for like with people who were comfortable, or very experienced in that environment, or have the charisma in that environment.”
“I guess that’s something we are trying to focus on now, making sure that everyone’s themselves and pulling their weight, as opposed to just sitting away and waiting for their opportunity rather than going out and taking it. That’s something we need to be a bit more focused on as senior leaders.”
As a result, Genge believes there is a more open environment in the camp.
“Yeah I guess so,” he said. “For me it’s easy to say that. I guess you’d have to ask one of the other boys how they feel. I am definitely seeing the young boys arsing about the place a bit more than I have in the past, which is a good thing. Obviously people who have come back into the environment who haven’t been here have said the same, so it’s good to hear.”