England head coach Eddie Jones has revealed that he does not see Maro Itoje as a future national team captain, despite taking a unique approach to developing his leadership skills.
In an extract from his new book on leadersip, Jones outlines that he thinks Itoje is too ‘inward-looking’ to help develop younger players in the England squad.
The 51-capped lock was touted as a potential option for the British & Irish Lions captaincy earlier this year, but that was given to Wales veteran Alun Wyn Jones. Even when Jones suffered a shoulder injury against Japan, Lions coach Warren Gatland gave Irish scrumhalf Conor Murray the captaincy until Jones recovered and joined the team on the tour of South Africa.
When Owen Farrell was injured during the November internationals, Courtney Lawes took over as captain, with vice-captains Tom Curry and Ellis Genge.
“I might be wrong, but I am not sure Maro is a future England captain,” Jones said. “He is going to be one of the great players, but Maro is very inward-looking. He drives himself rather than anyone else. He doesn’t usually influence people off the field.
“Maro might be able to develop this skill and relate to people even more effectively, but he has work to do here. We’ve sent Maro to acting classes, which is having a beneficial effect. He speaks more influentially now, and I am hopeful he can develop more communication and leadership skills. Acting brings Maro out of himself.
“The acting classes are a practical step to helping Maro and others share that internal fire and magic which makes them special. We’re always looking to see if we can develop these traits and find the right mix of leaders.”
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