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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Monday, 18 October 2010 12:15 UK

James Graham named as England Four Nations captain

Four Nations
Dates: 23 October-13 November Coverage: Live coverage and highlights on BBC One and BBC Two, BBC Sport website and BBC 5 live sports extra

James Graham
Graham is known as a fierce competitor on the field

By Dave Woods
BBC TV and Radio 5 live rugby league commentator in New Zealand

St Helens prop James Graham will captain England for the Four Nations tournament, which starts on Saturday in New Zealand.

The 25-year-old is the third player to take on the role after injuries to both Adrian Morley and Jamie Peacock.

Graham led the England Academy team to a historic victory in Australia six years ago.

"When [England coach] Steve McNamara offered me the captaincy I had no hesitation in saying yes," he 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."

Graham made a try-scoring international debut against New Zealand at St Helens in 2006. He was awarded the coveted Man of Steel Trophy in 2008, the first time the award was voted on by his fellow professionals.

His selection comes ahead of the likes of Sean O'Loughlin and Gareth Ellis.

McNamara said he was delighted that Graham had accepted the captaincy and was confident he was the right man for the job.


"James was one of a number of outstanding candidates for the position and I am delighted he is the new England captain," stated McNamara.

"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."

Meanwhile, Warrington prop forward Garreth Carvell is determined to make the most of being called into England's squad as a replacement for his club-mate Morley.

"The only reason I've come over is to play. It's exciting," said Carvell.

"I said I was available 24 hours and they took it literally. I got a call at 1am and got on the first flight."

Carvell, 29, was in the initial England train-on squad and played against Cumbria in a warm-up match earlier this month but was not included in coach Steve McNamara's final 24-man touring party.

However, the former Hull front rower commented: "When I missed the cut, I told [England and Warrington assistant coach] Jimmy Lowes I was going to keep training and keep myself in decent nick in case they picked up an injury.

Carvell, who flew out on Sunday evening, is due to join the England squad on Tuesday in Wellington ahead of the opener against New Zealand.

Follow me on Twitter as I cover the Four Nations for the BBC.

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see also
Hayne ruled out of Four Nations
18 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Young England seek new leader
18 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Morley ruled out of Four Nations
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Minnows show potential
16 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
New Zealand Maori 18-18 England
16 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Team spirit key to England glory
13 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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