Hartley thanks Saints after being named England skipper

Dylan Hartley is the new England captain (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Dylan Hartley is the new England captain (picture: Sharon Lucey)

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Dylan Hartley has thanked Saints for putting him in the position to be named England captain.

Hartley was announced as the national team’s new skipper on Monday, taking over from Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw.

It is a show of faith from new head coach Eddie Jones, who believes the Saints star will add an extra edge to his team during the Six Nations.

Hartley has plenty of experience of captaincy, having skippered Saints for six seasons before relinquishing the role prior to the current campaign.

His club have stuck by him through thick and thin, with the 29-year-old having racked up a total of 54 weeks of bans during his career.

And Hartley is grateful for support that the Saints coaching staff and players have given him.

“I’ve got a lot to thank Northampton for,” the hooker said. “Jim Mallinder, the coaches and the team have got behind me.

“I captained my club for six years and I owe a lot to Northampton for putting me in this position.

“I can handle it because I feel experienced enough to do it.

“Yes, it is different internationally, but I feel well equipped to do it.”

Hartley will turn to former skipper Robshaw and current England coach Steve Borthwick for some advice on captaining his country.

And he will also speak to former Saints team-mate Phil Dowson, who is now at Worcester Warriors.

“Phil Dowson is a terrific bloke,” Hartley said. “For me, he was a bit of a mentor and he probably doesn’t get the accolades he deserves.

“He’s a top guy and I’ll turn to him for a bit of advice.”