Graham to lead England
St Helens prop handed captaincy in Morley's absence
Last Updated: 18/10/10 2:45pm
Graham: New captain
St Helens prop James Graham has been named as England's captain for the Four Nations after Adrian Morley was ruled out of the competition through injury.
Morley, who had taken over the captaincy from the injured Jamie Peacock, ruptured his bicep in the 18-18 warm-up draw with New Zealand Maori on Saturday.
And now head coach Steve McNamara has chosen Graham to lead his side in the Four Nations, which begins when England face New Zealand this weekend.
"When Steve McNamara offered me the captaincy I had no hesitation in saying yes," Graham said.
"It's a great honour and I am deeply proud that I have this chance. It came as a surprise but hopefully I can reward his judgement with some good performances on the field.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, perhaps it's one of the honours that only sink in once you've retired.
"I don't think it's going to change me as a player. Certainly, at the moment my focus isn't on being England captain; it's on winning a rugby league game against New Zealand on Saturday."
The 25-year-old, who made his international debut for Great Britain four years ago, was handed the role ahead of NRL-based Gareth Ellis.
"James was one of a number of outstanding candidates for the position and I am delighted he is the new England captain," McNamara added.
"The natural leadership skills that he shows both on the field and on the training ground make him the ideal replacement for Adrian Morley.
"Without a doubt James has been one of the most consistent and outstanding performers both in the Super League and on the international stage.
"It is those qualities plus his drive and enthusiasm that will make James a very good and successful captain of the England rugby league team."