Saints coach Dickens believes Hartley would be a good man to skipper England

Dylan Hartley (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Dylan Hartley (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Saints assistant coach Alan Dickens believes Dylan Hartley would be a good choice as England captain.

And he feels the Red Rose really missed the hooker during the World Cup.

Hartley was left out of the England squad after picking up a ban for headbutting Saracens player Jamie George during the Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens in May.

The 29-year-old, who has won 66 caps, would only have been banned for the first England game, against Fiji, but head coach Stuart Lancaster opted to leave him out of the squad.

Now though, Hartley, who relinquished his role as Saints skipper during the summer, is being tipped as a contender for international captaincy, with Australian Eddie Jones having taken over from Lancaster.

Sir Ian McGeechan has been one of Hartley’s backers, and Dickens said: “Us at Northampton Saints have seen what Dylan has done during the past few years.

“You’ll have spoken to players every week who have all stood by Dylan when his captaincy has been questioned.

“I think that’s the kind of quality as a person and captain that the players see. Dylan is held in high regard and he’s someone who is a leader of men. He’s done really well for the past six years.

“I thought Dylan was a loss for England in the World Cup. He would have been our most-capped player in that squad and we didn’t pick him.

“Why? I don’t know.”