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Itoje gives England captaincy views

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Itoje weighs into England captaincy debate

Owen Farrell has been the subject of much debate over his captaincy in the aftermath of the Six Nations.

England blew a 31-0 lead against Scotland in their final game, with the flyhalf being subbed off in the closing stages for George Ford, with Eddie Jones citing that he’d “lost a bit of his edge”.

After impressive performances against Ireland and France, his level dropped off somewhat, particularly against Wales and Scotland.

Farrell’s record as captain has seen England lose five of the 12 matches, along with the 38-all draw with Scotland.

One man who has been hotly tipped as a future England captain is Maro Itoje. He’s leapt the defence of his international and club teammate.

“I’ve seen him as a captain and when he’s not captain and I think he improves when he has that responsibility,” the 24-year-old told talkSPORT.

“He improves in terms of the way he communicates, the way he plays, the way he carries himself and the way he thinks about the team. Almost all aspects of his game improve.

“He’s the type of player and the type of person who lives and breathes rugby. So there are not many people, if anyone, who have a better rugby intellect than Owen.”

“I think Owen has done a fantastic job. I’ve been up close and seen it with my own eyes. He commands respect from the whole squad.”

Itoje insists he has no designs on moving into a captaincy role.

“Winning is the most important thing for me, it’s not about egos, it’s about helping my team do what needs to be done in order to win. At the moment, part of that role is supporting the captain.

Continue reading below: Eddie Jones frustrated by England’s mental lapses

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Itoje remains on the sidelines due to injury and misses Saracens’ London Stadium match with Harlequins this weekend, however England trio Jamie George, Billy Vunipola and Ben Spencer do return to the Sarries starting line-up, as does their Welsh Grand Slam winner Liam Williams.

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Itoje weighs into England captaincy debate