England legend Will Greenwood believes Dylan Hartley’s poor form for Northampton must be weighed against his winning record as England captain.
The World Cup winner said the current skipper would not rank among the top three English hookers based on his club form.
“If you go form, I suspect only Dylan Hartley’s mother would say that he is the best performing hooker in the country at the moment,” revealed Greenwood on Sky Sports News.
“If you try to isolate and remove his captaincy and leadership, which is very difficult to do, is he currently the best English hooker on form? No. Does he make the top three? Probably not.
“Jamie George is outstanding most weeks, every time Luke Cowan-Dickie takes to the field for Exeter Chiefs you think this guy has got to go to Tokyo for the 2019 World Cup, and Tom Dunn is the guy at Bath who has been talked about. He is a naturally aggressive hooker like Hartley.
The World Cup winners ex-coach Sir Clive Woodward has also previously been very vocal about removing Hartley as captain and wants Owen Farrell to take over.
However, Greenwood, give a balanced view insisting that he believes the England squad is right behind the Northampton hooker.
“If he says Hartley’s captaincy within this squad when there are no prying eyes or media is worth far more than dropping the occasional ball and missing the occasional tackle in an environment that has been sinking, he’ll go, ‘I’ll take the Dylan Hartley that performs for me’.
“You can skin the cat in a variety of ways but if you go with form, probably only Dylan Hartley’s mother would say he is the best performing hooker in the country.
“If you go captain and leader, then I suspect most of the 30 lads in the England training camp at Brighton will say, ‘captain my captain, I will follow you’.
“That’s the fine margins of sport and that’s the decision Jones has got to come up with.”