Wigan stalwart Sean O'Loughlin captained England at the recent World Cup - though Sam Burgess took the captaincy for the Final with O'Loughlin sidelined through injury - but the loose-forward is nearing the end of his career. Aged 35 and with injuries limiting his game-time more and more, retirement must be around the corner. As such, England will have to appoint another captain in the near future. But just who are the main candidates for the job?

Sam Burgess

Probably the most obvious choice, Sam Burgess led the England side out against Australia in December's World Cup Final. Just 29 years of age, Burgess still has many years left at the top level.

And, as a consistent performer for the national side over the years, Burgess is still very much at the top of his game and is a player that can drive the standards of the rest of the team. His toughness and determination are unquestionable; despite suffering medial knee ligament damage in England's opener against Australia, Burgess returned to the side just a month later as England scraped past Tonga in the semi-finals.

James Roby

The ever-green Roby has just been appointed captain of his club St Helens. And, is there any wonder why? He is the epitome of a true professional; he does the hard graft on the field, gets his team on the front foot and is often the difference between Saints losing and winning. At the age of 32, Roby is perhaps getting towards the back end of his career, but this does not mean he is coming to a halt; the hooker's performances in the World Cup demonstrated just how influential he can be around the ruck and for his team, and many England supporters felt he played a more effective role than first-choice No.9 Josh Hodgson in the tournament.

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A two-year absence from the national setup may well have been the final nail in the coffin of Roby's England career. But, the role he played in bouncing Saints up to fourth in the Super League after a dismal first half of the season gave England head coach Wayne Bennett little choice but to include the dynamic hooker in the World Cup squad. And, the maturity and durability that he displays on the field leaves Roby as a potential successor to O'Loughlin for the armband.

Chris Hill

Named as captain of the Warrington Wolves in 2016, prop forward Hill steered the Wolves to a first-placed finish and to both the Challenge Cup Final and the Grand Final in his first year as leader. Although Hill - and the Warrington club themselves - endured a miserable 2017, the former Leigh man brought the club through the Middle 8s Qualifiers with ease.

And, the prop quickly got over the season's disappointment, playing a key role in England's route to the World Cup Final. A powerful, hard-hitting front-rower, Hill is a typical captain: he never takes a backwards step and certainly inspires those around him to achieve the most they possibly can.

And, at 30 years of age, Hill - as a prop - will be hitting the peak of his career in the near future.

Kallum Watkins

This choice may seem somewhat out of left field, but Kallum Watkins has just been assigned the Leeds captaincy from the retiring Danny McGuire. Evidently then, Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott trusts Watkins enough to take over from one of Leeds' greatest ever players and lead the club to further glory.

Watkins is the youngest of the five candidates - aged just 26 - but he is one of the most mature players in the game. There is also no doubting his quality as one of England's best centres and, with two World Cup tournaments and two Four Nations' tournaments under his belt, Watkins' experience could be crucial for the national side in the future.

James Graham

James Graham is the epitome of what a Rugby League player should be nowadays. He leads from the front every time he plays for club and country and, no matter what the result, Graham puts his heart and soul into the game. And, his love for his country is undeniable; indeed, in England's opening defeat against Australia in the 2017 World Cup, Graham was the last man to chase back Josh Dugan after the centre ran 80 metres in the dying seconds of the game. Though he is 32, the former Saints man is still in peak condition and still very much at the top of his game.