Watkins named Leeds captain

England centre Kallum Watkins has been named Leeds captain.

Watkins, 26, takes over from Danny McGuire a decade after he made his first team debut for the Rhinos.

He said: “It is a massive honour for me and a real privilege for me to be captain of this team and for this great club. I am truly honoured having been here for ten years.

“I have learned from the best and I have gained a lot of experience from the big games I have been involved in.

“Having played alongside people who lead from the front like Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Rob Burrow to name just a few, I have learned and developed as a man and a player.”

Watkins, who came through the youth ranks at Warrington amateur club Latchford Albion, has made 224 appearances for the Rhinos, who will enter the season as one of the Super League favourites. If you fancy a punt on McDermott’s men, Betandskill.co.uk offer all the latest tips and betting offers.

He added: “Being a leader was probably not something that came to me naturally initially but it is something I have grown into and now relish. I feel I have earned that by being myself.

“I think being captain will make me stronger. Having the desire to lead from the front helped me across the board throughout last season.

“It is a massive responsibility but for me it is just about being myself. I have always wanted to improve as a player and help improve as a team together.

“For me to be successful, I have to be playing at my best and I believe being captain of this great team gives me that opportunity.”

Watkins is the fourth successive Leeds captain to have come through the academy system at the club, after McGuire, Kevin Sinfield and Francis Cummins.

Coach Brian McDermott said: “The captaincy of this great club is a big task.

“When you look across our group, whilst there are those who have leadership qualities, Kallum is a fantastic candidate who has stood up to be counted over the last eighteen months and was an obvious choice for 2018.

“When I told the group that Kallum would be our new captain, the squad were really happy and confident that Kallum will get the job done.”

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