Paul O’Connell has back England’s Dylan Hartley to lead the Lions in New Zealand next summer.
Hartley was named England captain this year under new coach Eddie Jones after a controversial career undermined by disciplinary problems.
“It might be tough on Dylan but he seems to have learned from all of the scrapes he’s been in,” O’Connell told the BBC
“I think he’d be a great captain.”
New Zealand-born Hartley missed the last Lions tour to Australia in 2013 after being sent off for abusing the referee while playing for his club Northampton in the English Premiership final.
O’Connell, who was captain on the 2009 tour of South Africa, played 108 Tests for Ireland and seven for the Lions before retiring last year.
“Dylan’s been through all the ups and downs and he seems to be in a very good place in terms of how he plays and how he leads the team now,”
“I played with loads of guys that were in plenty of scrapes but it turns out that they are the guys you 100 percent want in your team,” O’Connell said.
Hartley is one of the leading candidates to captain the Lions in New Zealand under coach Warren Gatland along with Wales flanker Sam Warburton, who led the team to victory on their last tour to Australia in 2013.