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England coaches tell Jamie George to improve in battle for No. 2 shirt

Jamie George and Dylan Hartley will battle it out for the England No. 2 shirt in November. David Rogers/Getty Images

He may be knocking the door down to usurp England captain Dylan Hartley as the premier hooker in the country but Jamie George insists he still has work to do before making that next step.

Fresh off a hat trick of tries for Saracens at the weekend -- and an impressive summer tour with the British & Irish Lions -- this autumn could see George overtake Hartley as Eddie Jones' starting hooker when England start their November series against Argentina.

However George -- who is set to duke it out with Hartley in this weekend's Champions Cup action between Saracens and Northampton -- says the instruction from England is that there is still work to be done.

"The messages from the England coaches are that I have to improve in certain areas. The consistency of my performances needs to remain high," George said.

"I can't have periods of games where I'm in and out. I have to make sure my involvements in games are really high and that I keep playing with intensity.

"I've never wanted to be second choice, but it's the way that it has fallen. But I've learned the value of patience."

Warren Gatland saw George as his best hooker during the Lions tour of New Zealand, with Wales' Ken Owens riding the pine while Rory Best captained the mid-week side.

The Saracens hooker started all three Tests against the All Blacks, and says the win in Wellington was the most pleasing from an individual perspective.

"The second Lions Test in particular was one I was proud of. That's where I set the standard. The bar is set there. All my performances are based off that," George said.

"I was most pleased about my physicality and intensity in that game. I now realise where I need to be. That's the benchmark. I want to keep striving to get beyond that.

"The week building up to that second Test was the best week that I had. I've put a big focus on this season doing a lot of extras."

The Press Association contributed to this report.