Greg Rutherford can help inspire Britain’s athletes to medal success on home soil in the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

That is the view of British Athletics performance director Neil Black, who has challenged the 31-strong team to turn potential into podium places at Arena Birmingham from March 1-4.

Rutherford competed just three times in 2017 and only started walking again in mid-November following ankle surgery, but returned to competition by winning the British title at the weekend.

And although the former Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion did not achieve the long jump qualifying standard of 8.19 metres, as the host nation Britain are permitted to enter one athlete in an event where there is not otherwise any representation.

“It was great to have him at the trials,” Black said. “He came along and was just like any other athlete. There were no airs and graces. He got on with the job. He was a pleasure to have around. That says an enormous amount about Greg.

“It’s brilliant to have him in the team and I think lots and lots of the athletes will draw inspiration and confidence from having him there.”

Black hopes that will be the case with sprinter CJ Ujah, who won gold in the 4x100m relay in the world championships last year but has yet to display his full potential in an individual event and faces a daunting task in the 60m against new world record holder Christian Coleman.

“CJ knows he has the inherent talent, he knows he has the ability and has demonstrated that across the Diamond League last year,” Black added. “He knows that so far he hasn’t demonstrated that in a world championship final. He’s got the equipment, he’s just got to come and do it on the day. It’s that simple.”

Britain won six medals in Sopot in 2014 but just three in Portland two years ago, where they failed to win a single gold for the first time in a decade and just the second time since 1997.

Double European champion Laura Muir looks the best bet for a gold as she again attempts to win the 1,500m and 3,000m crowns, but Black is not setting any medal targets.

“This is a strong team,” Black added. “There are nine or 10 people who are currently ranked in the world’s top eight to 10; all of those people must be going into the competition thinking that they have a chance of competing to win a medal and we know that our challenge following London 2017 is the conversion of those who are very, very close into medallists.

“We are expecting to see some people step up and convert, some people to progress their performances and I hope the public understand that.”

Former Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz and Morgan Lake will contest the men’s and women’s high jump thanks to host nation places, with Elliot Giles also getting a place in the 800m.

However, the IAAF turned down an application on behalf of pole vaulter Adam Hague, who won the British title with a personal best of 5.65m at the weekend. The qualifying standard was 5.78m.

“It’s massively disappointing for Adam after overcoming a significant injury and it must be a bit of a kick in the teeth, but he has taken it on the chin,” Black said.

“He understands the circumstances and will simply move on and concentrate on the positive of pushing on towards world-level performances.”