Few eyebrows were raised when Chris Robshaw was handed the captaincy at Harlequins.

The squeaky clean mild mannered, blonde haired brown eyed boy seemed born for role, having grown up through the club’s academy ranks.

But when rough and ready prop Joe Marler was given the nod this season – to take the weight of responsibility off the shoulders of his England colleague – it is fair to say many may have been surprised.

Given Marler’s exterior and his preference for the odd joke, those doubters would be even more taken aback to hear he sees himself more the strong silent type than an up-and-at-them ball breaker.

The 24-year-old England man consulted with Robshaw and former captain Will Skinner before accepting the roll, but that is as far as he has got with regard to his take on leading the club in to Premiership and European battle this term.

“I haven’t really thought about my leadership style,” said the man who quit his studies at Richmond-Upon-Thames College to turn professional with Quins.

“Do actions speak louder than words? Probably. Am I a ranter and raver? Sometimes.

“You’ll have to ask me at the end of the season and probably the other boys in the team, too, to get an idea.

“First and foremost you’ve got to justify your place in the team and have those confidence to get on with your job. That is leading by example I suppose.

“You’ve got to no be afraid to say what is need to be said, if it needs to be said.

“I’m not one of those who talks for the sake of it.

“The boys know their roles and if they get on with their jobs you do really have to say too much.”

Quins kick off their campaign in the London Double Header fixture against London Irish, safe in the knowledge the exiles have not beaten Quins at Twickenham since 2006.

Quins have won five of the past six encounters between the two teams but Marler knows victory is not a forgone conclusion.

Irish struggled at the bottom end of the table for much of last term, while Quins pulled off a remarkable run of five straight league triumphs to reach the Premiership play-offs.

And the new captain is only too aware of the challenge this season is going to represent with the likes of new boys and relegation favourites London Welsh, having recruited heavily for the new campaign.

“All the other teams have recruited hard this summer and each year the competition gets tougher and tougher,” he added.

“The clubs you think are traditionally at the bottom of the table are creeping up on the teams above.

“The gap is narrowing.

“Welsh have brought in an entire new club of players to compete.

“It is a cliche, but anyone can beat anyone, so it is going to be interesting.”