Maro Itoje
Maro Itoje has 38 England caps and was named the 2016 European player of the year

England lock Maro Itoje has signed a new “long-term” contract at Saracens.

The 25-year-old had been linked with loan moves to Leicester and French side Racing 92 after Saracens were relegated to the Championship in January.

But Itoje has joined England captain Owen Farrell in committing his future to the reigning Premiership and Champions Cup holders.

“I’m really looking forward to the future. The future is going to be brighter than our past,” he said.

“The culture at Saracens is second to none and I think that’s evident for everyone to see.”

The north London club will be relegated from rugby union’s top flight at the end of this season following persistent salary cap breaches.

But the majority of their international stars, including hooker Jamie George, prop Mako Vunipola and full-back Elliot Daly, have agreed to remain at Allianz Park.

Itoje – part of the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 2017 – has been at Saracens since the age of 14, making his senior debut in 2014 and going on to win four Premiership titles and three Champions Cup crowns.

“From his early days in our academy, to being part of the club’s biggest moments, Maro has been a vital member of the Saracens project and we are thrilled he is committing to Saracens,” said director of rugby Mark McCall.

“At 25, it is very exciting to think where he can take his game, this team and our club in the future.”

England coach Eddie Jones said he would be happy to continue picking Saracens players for the national team despite them playing in the second tier.

Saracens will resume the 2019-20 Premiership campaign, which was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with an away fixture at Bristol on Saturday, 15 August.

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