Maro Itoje is being tipped to lead England sooner rather than later.
In an interview with The Rugby Paper, former England under 20s coach, Nick Walshe, has tipped Maro Itoje to replace Dylan Hartley as England captain as soon as next year.
Although some argued for Itoje to assume the role before Hartley was handed the captaincy by Eddie Jones, it would seem odd to depose a Grand Slam winning skipper so soon after lifting the Six Nations trophy aloft. Nevertheless, Walshe believes that may in fact happen.
It’s a bold statement, but potentially in a year or two you could see Eddie Jones doing what Geoff Cooke did with Will Carling by choosing somebody young like Maro and letting him lead for years.
He could potentially reach the stature of Martin Johnson.
Walshe based his argument on the fact that he witnessed Itoje’s leadership abilities at first hand, when the Saracens player captained the England under 20s to World Championship success in New Zealand in 2014.
He’s a phenomenal individual and a natural leader.
He leads from the front, speaks well and is a great athlete who just wants to learn. He’s a really hard worker and is such a good guy to have in your side as well.
Maro’s got everything. He’s not arrogant and he’s in a very good place at Saracens where they will keep his feet on the ground, but he’ll be in the England set-up for a very long time and I’m sure one day soon he’ll lead them as well.
Indeed, the article adds that in the 22 matches Itoje has played for England and Saracens this season he has appeared on the losing side just once.
Nevertheless, despite the undoubted potential of Itoje, it would be very doubtful if Jones chose to make him captain in the immediate future.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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