The appointment of Steve McNamara as the new England head coach has been given a ringing endorsement by his predecessor.

Tony Smith who stepped down from the post in November, hailed the appointment of his former assistant, along with that of his own older brother Brian in a mentoring role, as “a real positive” for the game.

McNamara, 38, has been given the job until after the 2013 World Cup, initially on a part-time basis until he completes his commitments with the Bulls later this year.

The RFL sought the opinion of Tony Smith, 43, in the selection process but chief executive Nigel Wood said McNamara was always their first choice.

“I didn’t have a lot of input but I’m delighted with the appointment,” said Smith. “It’s the best appointment possible in both regards. They’re going to be a great team together.

“Steve even on his own would have been very good but he’s strengthened by his offsider. It’s a real positive for English rugby league.”

McNamara, who worked under Smith at the 2008 World Cup, is confident the foundations have been laid for a successful future.

“It’s a super opportunity at this moment in time for English rugby league,” he said.

“There is a new breed of young players emerging in Super League, which is great credit to the competition, and I think there is an ambitious RFL who are very keen to open themselves up to new ideas.”