England and Lions legend Martin Johnson believes Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell are in contention to lead the British & Irish Lions against South Africa in 2021.
The 50-year-old went on three Lions tours in 1993, 1997 and 2001, becoming the first man to captain the tourists twice in 2001.
Another former Lions skipper, Paul O’Connell has already suggested Farrell should skipper the side, but Johnson believes it’s far too early to make any sort of prediction.
“There are obviously some guys with credits already,” Johnson told the Mail Online.
“Alun Wyn Jones has a lot as a Lion and as Wales captain. Itoje has got a lot as a player, but they’ve got to do it all again.
“They (coaches) won’t be picking off 2018, 2019 and 2020. These guys will have to be doing it in 2021.”
Johnson does believe England captain Farrell is another who Gatland will consider with the legend saying: ‘I’m sure he will be up there in the thick of it’
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Unlike some other former players, Johnson also believes age shouldn’t rule Alun Wyn Jones out of contention.
“You are only looking at playing four or five games on the tour so if he’s got the form, no, it’s not an issue.
He added: “And he’s certainly got the experience. Willie John (McBride) was what – 33, 34 when he did it?.”
British & Irish Lions predicted 2021 starting XV according to the bookies
Although it’s about a year until Warren Gatland picks his Lions squad, the public has already started talking about who will make it onto the plane and who will line-up in the first Test against South Africa.
Gatland has spoken publicly about his team but has given little away as he continues to ponder over big selection decisions.
That doesn’t stop the bookies offering odds on who will make the squad.
Here is how the XV would shape up based on the favourites to be selected from each position.
You can view the full odds from Paddy Power HERE.
Odds are accurate on Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 8am, and are subject to change.
Fullback: LIAM WILLIAMS (Wales 4/7)
Other contenders: Stuart Hogg (Scotland 4/6), Jordan Larmour (Ireland EVS), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales 5/1), George Furbank (England 7/2)
Left wing: JONNY MAY (England 1/25)
Other contenders: Jacob Stockdale (Ireland 1/3), Adam Radwan (England 40/1), Jack Nowell (England 11/4), Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales 13/8)
Outside-centre: JONATHAN DAVIES (Wales 1/3)
Other contenders: Henry Slade (England 5/6), Garry Ringshow (Ireland 4/6), Jonathan Joseph (England 13/8), Chris Harris (Scotland 20/1), Huw Jones (Scotland 6/1)
Inside-centre: MANU TUILAGI (England 1/3)
Other contenders: Robbie Henshaw (Ireland 5/6), Hadleigh Parkes (Wales 5/4), Sam Johnson (Scotland 9/2)
Right wing: JOSH ADAMS (Wales 1/18)
Other contenders: Anthony Watson (England 4/6), George North (Wales 2/1), Elliot Daly (England 10/11), Joe Cokanasiga (England 3/1), Keith Earls (Ireland 9/2)