WORCESTER Warriors captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze hailed centre Ryan Mills as a “very good leader” that “makes the team tick”.

Mills, 27, skippered Warriors on various occasions last term and notably stepped in for van Velze when the club’s Gallagher Premiership status was in the balance.

Van Velze admitted he and Mills shared the “same dream” for Worcester having both arrived at Sixways in 2014.

And the 31-year-old number eight said the midfield ace played a “crucial” role in decision making on and off field.

“He is an exceptional player and a very good leader,” van Velze said.

“He speaks well and gets his point across which is not an easy thing to do in a high-pressured environment.

“I think he has been playing great rugby again and if you are brutally honest he makes the team tick because he plays at 12.

“He is part of crucial decision making within the game and on a day-to-day basis at the club.”

Van Velze spent more than two months on the sidelines after fracturing his forearm in Warriors’ defeat at Harlequins in February.

Mills then took on the role of leading the team who were battling to avoid the drop before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in early April.

“Millsy is a fighter,” van Velze said.

“Millsy wouldn’t back down to many things in life and that is what you want from a player in that position (as captain).

“He is extremely proud and loves Worcester. We are both committed.

“We came here at the same time with the same dream which we have not achieved yet so we are in a similar position in terms of wanting to push this club to where it needs to be.”

Director of rugby Alan Solomons has yet to confirm publicly who will captain Worcester for the 2019-20 campaign.

Van Velze, who has shouldered the responsibility for four of his past five seasons at Warriors, said he relished leading the side but acknowledged there were many contenders for the coveted role.

“I enjoy being captain but it is not up to me,” van Velze said. “This is a team effort.

“I enjoyed last season with all its challenges but I like to contribute to the club.

“Whether (I am given the captaincy) next year or not it doesn’t bother me. I just want to be part of the organisation moving forward.

“Other people have stepped up and led extremely well under pressure.

“It has never been a one-man show so it has never been about me, Millsy or Marco (Mama).

“There will always be people that have got great leadership ability that will chip in.

“We are fortunate that we have got a bunch of players that can step up and do a job (as captain).”