Aviva Premiership
Sharks name Gaskell captain
August 31, 2010
Sale's James Gaskell races away to score a try, Sale Sharks v Harlequins, Guinness Premiership, Edgeley Road, Stockport, England, January 1, 2010
Sale Sharks lock James Gaskell, who will lead the side this year, races away to score a try © Getty Images
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Sale Sharks have appointed James Gaskell as their new captain - making the 20-year-old lock the youngest skipper in the club's history

Gaskell's appointment ahead of experienced internationals Charlie Hodgson, Dwayne Peel and Mark Cueto sees him eclipse the record previously held by Alex Sanderson and also means he will be the youngest skipper in this season's Premiership.

"I know it will be a surprise to a lot of people thanks to James' age but, as far as what I'm looking for in a captain which is someone to take the club forward on this journey which we're about to embark on," head coach Mike Brewer told the Manchester Evening News. "I see him as a key player in the squad over the next three to five years," Brewer declared.

"I wasn't looking for a Napoleon-type leader. The biggest trait I'm looking for in a captain is someone who is prepared to put his body on the line and someone who won't be asking others to do something he's not prepared to do himself.

"James might be only 20 but I think he's a lot older in terms of his experience and rugby knowledge and I think he'll be a real success for the team and I know the players are right behind him."

Gaskell was deligted to accept the honour but stressed the importance of the collective effort. "It was a massive surprise when Mike asked me to be captain especially with the likes of Peely (Dwayne Peel) and Cutes (Mark Cueto) and other top people in the squad," said Gaskell. "But to me whoever is on the pitch is a leader. I'm just the person with a 'C' next to their name but there are 15 out there on the pitch at any one time.

"I thank Mike for giving me the opportunity and hopefully he can keep his faith in me and I can do the job for the season. Mike has brought in a new philosophy this year and all the boys are hungry."

The rising star made his Sale debut in October 2008 and was named as the club's Breakthrough Player of the Year last season as well as the Players' Player of the Year. He will lead the team out for the first time on Friday night when the Sharks take on Newcastle Falcons at Edgeley Park in their opening Aviva Premiership fixture of the new campaign.

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