Paul Sculthorpe has been named as captain of Great Britain in succession to Andy Farrell.
The 27-year-old will lead GB in this autumn's Tri-Nations Series, where they will face Australia and New Zealand.
"It's the job I've always wanted," said the St Helens captain, whose predecessor switched to rugby union.
Bradford skipper Jamie Peacock, who was thought to be Sculthorpe's nearest challenger for the position, has been named as his vice-captain.
Farrell, who will take up his three-year contract with Saracens and the RFU on 1 June, led Great Britain in each of the last 29 Tests.
He inherited the captaincy from another Wigan legend, Shaun Edwards, in 1996.
"Andy was a great captain for Great Britain and I learnt a lot from him which I'll take into captaincy," said Sculthorpe.
"The one thing I see as a captain is to lead the way on the field with the way I play."
Sculthorpe, who began his professional career with Warrington 10 years ago, has amassed more than 1,000 points for St Helens and has twice won the prestigious Man of Steel award.
He has won 25 caps since making his debut against Papua New Guinea in 1996.
"It means everything to me," said Sculthorpe. "It's the highest accolade you can get in the game of rugby league.
"If you look at the squad it's very talented and professional and that will make my job a lot easier."
GB coach Brian Noble added: "It wasn't a difficult decision, having known Paul for a number of years.
"He's been doing a very good job as vice-captain so he has a couple of corporal stripes anyway and this is a natural progression for him."
Noble also announced his 40-man initial preparation squad for the Tri-Nations, with Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos providing 10 players, including Kevin Sinfield who was controversially left out of last season's party.
"It's been very tough and there are some omissions," said Noble.
"It's been a very, very thorough process but if you make a decision on 40 you have to draw the line somewhere."
Leeds' Matt Diskin, who has not played since the first match of last season's Tri-Nations series because of a knee injury, is included and is expected to be put into the summer training camp in June.
The squad also includes St Helens scrum-half Sean Long, despite his threat to quit the international stage after his three-month ban following betting allegations last year.
Noble said: "I have spoken to him and his coach and he is keen to go around again."
Initial 40-man Great Britain squad for the Gillette Tri-Nations series:
Ryan Bailey (Leeds Rhinos), Kevin Brown (Wigan Warriors), Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos), Mark Calderwood (Leeds Rhinos), Brian Carney (Wigan Warriors), Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield Giants), Keiron Cunningham (St Helens), Matt Diskin (Leeds Rhinos), Gareth Ellis (Leeds Rhinos), Stuart Fielden (Bradford Bulls), Nick Fozzard (St Helens), Ade Gardner (St Helens), Lee Gilmour (St Helens), Martin Gleeson (Warrington Wolves), Iestyn Harris (Bradford Bulls), Mickey Higham (St Helens), David Hodgson (Salford City Reds), Richard Horne (Hull FC), Paul Johnson (Bradford Bulls), Paul King (Hull FC), Jamie Langley (Bradford Bulls), Sean Long (St Helens), Danny McGuire (Leeds Rhinos), Adrian Morley (Sydney Roosters), Terry Newton (Wigan Warriors), Jamie Peacock (Bradford Bulls, vice-captain), Leon Pryce (Bradford Bulls), Kris Radlinski (Wigan Warriors), Gareth Raynor (Hull FC), Stuart Reardon (Bradford Bulls), Keith Senior (Leeds Rhinos), Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens, captain), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Jamie Thackray (Hull FC), Chris Thorman (Huddersfield Giants), Danny Ward (Leeds Rhinos), Chev Walker (Leeds Rhinos), Paul Wellens (St Helens), Stephen Wild (Wigan Warriors), Jon Wilkin (St Helens)