Hartley is the right man to lead England, insists Youngs

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Ben Youngs has no doubt that Dylan Hartley is the right man to continue captaining England despite his disciplinary record once again being questioned.

Hartley was named as skipper by head coach Eddie Jones ahead of last year's Six Nations and has held the role for each of England's 13 consecutive victories under the Australian.

However, the hooker's poor disciplinary record once again faced intense scrutiny after he was banned for six weeks for striking Leinster's Sean O'Brien while representing Northampton Saints in a European Champions Cup match.

That suspension meant Hartley has been banned for 60 weeks during his career and led to suggestions that Jones may strip him of the armband.

England team-mate Youngs offered his full backing to Hartley and praised his leadership skills.

"Without a doubt [he is the right man to lead England], his record speaks for itself, he's done a great job," he told Omnisport. 

"He got the job this time last year and he has a great record. We also have a huge amount of other leaders around, the likes of Owen [Farrell], [George] Ford, George Kruis, James Haskell so there are plenty of leaders and Dylan is the one on top of the pile. 

"He reads the mood of the camp very well. When there is a time to say it how it is then there is that time. When it's time to be calm and give a clear message he knows that. 

"He is very good at bringing people together in terms of team morale and dynamics, and naturally as a captain you have to do the other bits - make sure everything is alright within the squad, connect with the coaches and players, a lot of unseen work that he does as well. 

"He does a very good job."

Youngs also feels that the intense media focus on Hartley is par for the course when representing England.

"I think it comes with the territory. As an England player you are there to be criticised through performances or wrongdoings, whatever it may be," he added. 

"You are in the firing line. It doesn't frustrate, I think everyone is aware of it. You've got the privilege of representing your country, if you do something you are going to get a bit of heat for it."

England begin the defence of their Six Nations title against France at Twickenham on February 4.

Ben Youngs is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has a heritage in supporting rugby at all levels, from grassroots to the elite. Through its 'We Deal In Real' campaign, Land Rover continues to shine a light on the people, players and clubs at the heart and soul of the game.