Former England fly-half Stuart Barnes has called for Maro Itoje to replace Owen Farrell as captain of the national side.
“Farrell has failed as a centre. He has failed as a captain when the game plan has wobbled. He has succeeded as a link between team and management,” Barnes wrote in The Times.
“This leads to the primary problem for England — an inability to think for themselves. New faces are needed, new faces with a freedom to think fresh thoughts.
“There is only one alternative: Maro Itoje must be appointed captain. The case is strong. He has been world-class for half a decade.”
Barnes also felt that Itoje should have been selected as the British and Irish Lions’ skipper ahead of the experienced Welshman Alun Wyn Jones.
“He should have been the Lions captain and he should be the England captain. It is time to hear the England players — not only the coach. Here is someone capable of inspiring players and supporters; on the field, in a press conference and in the big wide world beyond the team camp,” he added.
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Fans pick the England XV they want to see for the Autumn Internationals
- 15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
- 14. Anthony Watson (Bath, 55 caps)
- 11. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
- 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 38 caps)
- 12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 99 caps)