SAINTS boss Just Holbrook believes the club will better off in the long term for having had 11 players on World Cup duty, even if it does limit their input into pre-season training.

Only the club’s four England players — Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival, Alex Walmsley and James Roby – remain Down Under, with the rest currently having a three weeks rest before returning to training.

With so many first-teamers missing, training is focused on improving the individuals rather than team drills - and expects those players to seize that opportunity.

Holbrook said: “From a selfish point of view you would want all those boys back in training, but in the long term it will be great experience for those boys.

“We currently have 19 here at training so our main focus is not on the team it is the individual.

“The beauty for the boys who are here they have the time now to improve their game so when it comes to the team stuff and we get the whole squad back, they are more skilful, stronger and faster.

“We are working on everything, not just fitness, strength, skills or speed – but a combination of everything.

“And this time of year is an opportunity to develop and hone skills - a time when we are not focusing on games, or recovering from them.

Holbrook only took over at Saints at the end of May so this is his first chance to mould what the club does in the off-season.

And, in conjunction with the performance staff, they have tailored a training schedule that focuses on all the basic requirements of rugby league.

Holbrook said: “We have changed what we have done in the past here – in consultation with the performance staff.

“Although we have definitely changed it, that is not to say the past methods were not great.

“St Helens are a great club and have always trained well, but this is about changing focus to a lot more skill-based rugby and conditioning.

“As a result training is a lot more based on what we do in a game.

“I think the players enjoy that too, doing something that is really specific.

“I am big on that and a lot of common sense stuff on what you do in the week to make you a better players.

“And among that are some of the basic fundamentals which are the core part of the game.

“Every year you go back to the start – you may be a golfer or a tennis player and they do the same things.

“They don’t say I can do that now and so can move on. The fundamentals are crucial, the most important part of the game.”

He felt all of his club’s World Cup players - where given the chance - have acquitted themselves well, even in the face of some adversity as is the case for the Welsh, Scottish and French players.

Holbrook said: “All the ones who have bowed out now have done us proud. Kyle and Louie were outstanding for Ireland, while Morgan, Regan and Ben Morris did it tough for Wales.

“Morgan Knowles in particular stood up and played with his heart on his sleeve and will get some great experience from that.

“He played with great toughness and maturity for a bloke who only turned 21 out there.

“Theo and Luke Douglas both did it tough for France and Scotland.

“They will all get something out of it – playing in a World Cup," he said.