Rugby legend Martin Johnson has expressed his doubts at the prospect of Dylan Hartley being named captain of England by new head coach Eddie Jones for the 2016 Six Nations.
With just 24 hours to go until Jones names his first England squad, controversial hooker Hartley has emerged as the favourite to lead the side when they face Scotland in the opening round of the Six Nations 2016 – Saturday 6th February.
Hartley has not featured for England since the 2015 Six Nations and missed out on selection for the World Cup after being banned for head-butting Saracens hooker Jamie George.
The 29-year-old has been out of action for the past seven-weeks with concussion and has been unable to force his way back into the Northampton Saints starting XV. Despite his injuries and poor disciplinary record, Jones is still set to make Hartley his captain.
World Cup winning captain Johnson is concerned by the move and told Sky Sports “He’s not getting picked for his club team. He was injured on the weekend having been picked on the bench.
“What is his disciplinary record? Would I have an issue? It does not matter what I think but it probably is an issue.
“I went to the sin-bin more than a few times but I don’t think I cost my team a game.”
The iconic second-row led England to a historic year in 2003 which included a Grand Slam, away victories over New Zealand and Australia before the famous World Cup triumph in Sydney.
He added that the need for a leadership group around the captain was essential “The captaincy is important to the media but you need a group of senior players to drive things forward.”
Jones prepares to name Six Nations squad
Jones could be without several big names for the opening rounds of the 2016 Six Nations after the likes of Joe Launchbury, George Kruis and Jack Nowell suffered injuries during the weekend’s Aviva Premiership fixtures.
One bright spot was the return of centre Manu Tuilagi who played 25 minutes for Leicester Tigers in their win over Northampton. Tuilagi has been out of action for 18 months and will be itching to get back into the England set-up.