Eddie Jones has recalled Dylan Hartley to the England set-upand the Northampton Saints hooker could even captain the side in the autumn Tests.
Hartley, 32, has been the regular captain under Jones, but has not played for England since March and, in his absence, Owen Farrell took over.
Farrell led the squad during the recent tour of South Africa when Hartley was injured, but as the head coach has pointed out previously, it takes time and patience to be considered a top captain.
“He did a great job,” Jones told talkSPORT about Farrell. “He’s a young captain; he’s not the full package but it usually takes 15 or 20 Tests to become a really good Test captain. He did a great job, we’re glad Dylan is back in the squad and we’ve got great competition for that captaincy role.”
The question of leadership is something Jones has raised concerns about previously.
“We need to get eight or nine guys who are consistently leaders, and we don’t have that at the moment,” he said in 2017.
“We need eight or nine to be a World Cup-winning side, and that’s what we are aiming to be,” he added, believing modern day athletes lead more sheltered lives in academies.
Pressed on whether anyone else has emerged as a leader in the England squad ahead of games against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia, Jones said: “We need to wait and see because we don’t know who is going to be available for the November series.”
On Hartley, he said: “We know he’s a good captain and his record speaks for itself but he’s got to get back, he’s got to be fit and playing well as a hooker.
“As you can see from the squad, we’ve got three other good hookers in [Jack] Singleton, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie George.”
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