EX-Saints ace James Graham is among the favourites to takes as England captain from Jamie Peacock.
Peacock announced his retirement from international rugby league with immediate effect yesterday.
The 34-year-old Leeds prop has decided to call time on his 12-year career on the international stage, although he will play on with Leeds, having recently signed a new two-year contract taking him to the end of 2014.
His decision to step down from England now means coach Steve McNamara will have to find a new skipper for next Wednesday’s second international origin game against the Exiles as well as the 2013 World Cup.
Graham will not feature in those games due to his duties in the NRL with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
However, he has already worn the captain’s armband during England’s Four Nations.
Peacock, who made his England debut against Russia in the 2000 World Cup and led England for the last time in their 18-10 win over the Exiles earlier this month, said he made his mind up to retire from international duty in January.
“The last achievement I felt I could have with England would be to right the wrong and beat the Exiles team and this has happened,” he said in a statement released through the Rugby Football League.
“To play and captain your country is the highest honour within the game and this was a decision that was not taken lightly.
“In 2000, when I made my debut, it was beyond my wildest ambition and dreams that I would then go onto represent my country nearly 50 times and captain them for seven years.
“I felt that the time would be right for me to step down and solely concentrate on playing for my club.
“The focus for Steve McNamara and the England team has to be the objective of trying to win the Rugby League World Cup next year and for the next generation of players to be part of that process.
“While I feel there are deficiencies within Super League, the one aspect for me that made this decision easier was the huge amount of exciting young talent coming through the elite competition in this country.
“I feel now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of trying to be the dominant force in world rugby league over the next few years.
“Whenever I have captained or played for my country against the best in the world I have always enjoyed rising to the challenge and played with passion, commitment and honesty. I believe that this current England team will continue to do the same.”
Peacock, who was awarded the MBE in this year’s New Year Honours list, has represented England 22 times and amassed 26 appearances for Great Britain.
He missed the 2009 Four Nations Series down under after undergoing a knee re-construction but made a full recovery in time to lead England to the 2010 final against Australia.
Peacock added: “I’d like to record my sincere thanks to the England fans and the RFL for their full support throughout my international career.
“I would also like to thank all the players I stood shoulder to shoulder with while representing Great Britain and England.
“For me, one of the greatest pleasures of representing your country was becoming friends and going into a rugby league battle with players I held in high regard and respected from competing against them at club level.
“I’m also grateful to all of the managers, coaches, media and administrators I’ve worked with, who have all contributed to my career.
“I’m looking forward to assisting in a capacity away from playing and I’d like to wish Steve McNamara and the current England team success over the next two years, especially in their efforts to win the World Cup.”
McNamara said: “Jamie Peacock is rugby league’s ultimate warrior. It has been a privilege and an honour to coach Jamie at international level.
“He has given every ounce of blood, sweat and tears to the national set-up and it will be a massive challenge to replace such a fantastic athlete and captain.
“He is the perfect role model for any aspiring junior wanting to be the best they can be. The way he inspires those around him is his distinct quality.
“Jamie’s qualities will not be lost as he will have a major part to play in the overall England programme going forward as we continue to build to the Rugby League World Cup next year.”