'Delighted' Carling quick to applaud appointment

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Will Carling graciously applauded his successor as England captain yesterday: "I am delighted for Phil. He has been and will be an excellent captain. I have always said so," he said.

"I realise the ramifications from my point of view. There is only one other centre position available. But selection is now out of my hands and I have been playing OK."

As to be expected, management and players at Bath were equally enthusiastic. John Hall, the director of rugby, said: "Phil is a very strong character, and will not be frightened of making decisions. This is great news for him and the club, and it's a perfect reward for all our efforts down the years. Phil has got some great qualities, but inside that smooth exterior is one very tough guy.

"I think that Phil should play alongside Jerry [Guscott], and in doing that, England will have the best two centres in Britain."

Guscott also welcomed De Glanville's new role. "I am very pleased that Phil has been made captain. He is the best man for the job," his Bath team-mate said.

"He's got the respect of all the international players, and has been knocking on the door for some time. From my point of view, it would be nice to play alongside him for England.

"I think that Lawrence [Dallaglio] will be disappointed because he cannot help himself sometimes believing what he reads in the press."

Two other Bath players joined in the congratulations. "I think he has got the respect of everyone," Mike Catt said. "I think the England players will know what he is about. It has come at the right time for him after he was injured, and he has come back to play at his best again."

Jon Sleightholme believes he can benefit personally from De Glanville's presence if he retains his England right-wing berth. "He will be an excellent captain, and he will help me if I am there. Phil will give 110 per cent commitment".

Brian Moore, England's most capped hooker, said: "It must mean that the England camp has made a decision about the centre pairing. Now either Will Carling or Jeremy Guscott is not going to feature in the long-term plans coming up to the World Cup in 1999. I'd actually put my mark down for Phil much earlier, notwithstanding the fact that he wasn't first-choice centre at the time."