FOOTBALL icon and self-confessed Wire fan Stuart Pearce believes the togetherness within the Wolves camp will see them to success in 2017.

The former England captain, who currently has a number of media commitments and is a regular on Talksport, has attended several games over the years and is a good friend of Wolves head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith.

Pearce knows about the importance of team spirit from his playing and management career and, having seen them at close quarters, says The Wire have that in abundance.

Warrington Guardian:

Stuart Pearce talking with Warrington Wolves first-team coach Richard Agar at the club's warm-weather training camp in Tenerife in January

He also says he will get to as many games as his football commitments allow during the new season.

“Team spirit and camaraderie is everything, you have to really galvanise that and it filters through everyone,” he said.

“There are some real solid citizens and a real togetherness in the group, the new signings look as though they have blended very well.

“All being well, my first game will be the Castleford game, the first home league game (on February 24).

“I had plans to go to Catalans but it has fallen on a Saturday that isn’t going to be workable for me.

“As soon as the fixtures come out I look at the diary and think about how I can fit games in around my work commitments.”

Pearce and Smith are firm friends after years of exchanging know-how in their respective fields.

Warrington Guardian:

Stuart Pearce in attendance at a Warrington Wolves game in 2015. Picture by Mike Boden

The former Nottingham Forest defender, who won 78 caps for his country during a stellar international career, takes us back to how their friendship began and expressed admiration for the way Smith goes about his business.

“It started about seven or eight years ago, Tony came and spoke to a group of coaches on the football Pro License course,” he said.

“I wasn’t actually on the course but I made it my business to turn up and listen to him speak.

Warrington Guardian:

Wolves' head of coaching and rugby, Tony Smith

“I’d never heard of him before and I thought it would be good to listen to what he had to say.

“He was very different to what I thought he would be, I asked him whether it would be ok to spend some time with Wolves and he was open to that.

“Since then I’ve been to watch games, he’s been into England under 21s and Nottingham Forest when I had those jobs and our relationship has really developed from there.

Warrington Guardian: Press conference with England manager Stuart Pearce and defender Michael Mancienne on the European Under-21 Championship match against Spain and Mancienne on his move to Hamburg

Stuart Pearce from his time as England under 21s manager

“He is really open-minded about expanding his knowledge and we just hit it off as friends.

“I respect everything he’s done within the sport and my love of the sport came from that.

“He has really helped me on occasion when I’ve asked him to come into my environment and give me feedback.

“He’s really honest about that, he’ll give you the good, the bad and the ugly about what he sees.”

Pearce was a keen observer as the Wolves players were put through their paces during their pre-season training camp in Tenerife, having been invited to join the squad by Smith.

And the man who has also managed Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and England under 21s in his coaching career was impressed by what he saw.

“For me it was fantastic to see a training camp of a sport that isn’t my main one and to spend a bit of time with Tony and the boys,” he said.

“I got an invitation from Tony to go out there, I know a fair few of the players by name and reputation.

“I’ve been away from the sharp end of football for two years now, so to be involved in that team environment again has really inspired me.

“They had a real focus about what they’re trying to do.

Warrington Guardian:

Stuart Pearce watching on in Tenerife

“Their sessions got progressively harder and it’s always nice to see that progression.

“As a fan turning up to games you only really see the product on the pitch so it was good for me, a man with very little knowledge of the intricate details of rugby league, to actually see the process and see it coached into a proper game situation.”