England's Maro Itoje in action against Scotland during the Six Nations. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

LONDON - England forward Maro Itoje should be fit for the first of the Six Nations matches against Italy on February 4, his club coach Mark McCall said on Thursday.

Itoje, who has become one of England's key players and helped them win the 2017 Six Nations title, suffered a fractured jaw in a collision with England team mate Mike Brown in Saracens' Premiership match against Harlequins on December 3.

It was feared his recovery could take more than two months, which would have ruled him out of the start of the Six Nations, but McCall, the Saracens' director of rugby, said that timeframe had shortened.

"Maro Itoje will probably be back in three or four weeks' time -- maximum six weeks -- and he's had a week and a half already," McCall told the club website on Thursday.

The time frame should see Itoje -- who, ironically, had his playing time managed during England's recent tests -- back in action for his club ahead of the Italy game.

The BBC reported McCall as saying that Itoje, who had two plates inserted in his face, had been told by his specialist that he faced a maximum of four weeks' rehabilitation.

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