CHRIS CLARKSON has succeeded Tim Spears as captain of York City Knights.

Clarkson joined York from Betfred Super League side Castleford Tigers ahead of the 2020 season and will have an increased role in his first full season at the club.

Head coach James Ford insisted that the decision was not related to the performances of Spears - a key part of the club’s recent successes - and he is still a key part of the club, both on and off the field.

“Tim Spears has stepped down as captain,” explained Ford. “It’s nothing to do with Tim’s performance. Tim has got an immense role at the club and he’s going to have a lot of responsibilities in terms of developing other players and other leaders.

“He will probably have a bigger role at the club than he’s had previously.”

“Chris is a very good professional. He selects his words carefully and what he says he genuinely means and he leads by his actions.

“He’s’ very similar to Tim. Clarky will be the first player behind the ball, he’ll top the off-the-ball efforts in terms of the support runs, resets and kick chase.

“He’s been really well-coached and I think it helps for a leader to do all those one per cent things, that we talk about a lot.

“Tim has been a fantastic leader for this club and I’m very comfortable saying he’s the best captain that I’ve seen at the Knights since I came in as a player.

“His impact has been enormous, on how we train, play and in terms of the players attitudes away from the club. Clarky’s got some big shoes to fill.

“But I wouldn’t have asked Clarky do it, if I didn’t have confidence that he would be able to.”

Clarkson said: “It’s a great honour to be leading the team this year and I’m really excited to do it.

“But, I’m not on my own out there, we’ve got some great leaders in the team like Cuthbo (Adam Cuthbertson) and Bish (Ben Jones-Bishop) and Kirmo (Danny Kirmond).

“I’m looking forward to directing the team in the right way, leading from the front and leading with my actions.”