Eddie Jones has announced that he has sent Maro Itoje to an acting class to try to hone his leadership skills, but does not currently see the towering suspension as a future England captain.
In one new book on leadership, released Thursday, the England head coach outlined how he believes the now 51-time international Itoje, a former England U20 world champion captain, is “looking inward” and not helping other players develop off the field of the game.
“I could be wrong but I’m not sure Maro is a future England captain,” said Jones. “He’ll be one of the great players, but Maro is very inward. He’s more likely to drive himself than anyone else. Usually he doesn’t affect people outside of the field.
“Maro may be able to develop this ability and interact with people more effectively, but he has a lot to do here. We sent Maro to acting class, which has a positive effect. He is speaking more influential now and I hope he can develop more communication and leadership skills. Acting brings Maro out of herself.
“Taking acting classes is a practical step in helping Maro and others share the inner fire and magic that make them special. We always try to see if we can develop these qualities and find the right mix of executives. “
In the book, Jones also describes how a sense of entitlement within the cadre and the aftermath of the Saracen salary cap scandal that undermined his leadership group derailed their Six Nations 2021, in which they finished fifth.
“Eventually, when the influence of the Saracen contingent wore off, the leadership group would collapse,” Jones wrote in the book.
The solution was to reinvent the squad and leadership group, a process that began during the English Summer Series while the Lions were playing and that was continued by adding iconic players like Mako and Billy Vunipola and George Ford from the Fall internationals were excluded.
In terms of leadership, Courtney Lawes replaced the injured Farrell in November as captain for two of the three internationals with vice-captains Tom Curry and Ellis Genge.
Leadership, by Eddie Jones, edited by Pan Macmillan, £ 20