McLean, who has 38 caps, takes over the captaincy armband from Catherine Spencer who stepped down last week.
The 25-year-old was vice captain of England in 2009 and 2010 and stepped up to skipper England during the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup when Spencer was rested.
“It’s a massive honour to be England captain, a dream I have had since I started playing,” said McLean, who lives in Gateshead and is studying to become a teacher. “There are so many natural leaders in our squad that it makes it even harder to believe they have asked me.”
McLean won’t have to wait long to lead her side on international duty with the RBS 6 Nations just around the corner. England kick off their campaign as well as their defence of their grand slam crown on February 6th away against Wales.
McLean added: “I have been lucky to captain England a couple of times so I have the experience, but even so it is a massive difference from being vice captain. Catherine did an amazing job captaining her country, it was an honour to be her vice, and I am sure I will be seeking her advice throughout the season.
“This is a new start, however, a new four year cycle to the next world cup, and a lot of new players have come in so I am extremely excited for them to show their potential and I will certainly do my best to support them as well as my more established teammates.
“I can’t wait for the Six Nations to kick off. Wales is always a tough game and it will be even tougher since we are in Wales so as a side we need to ensure we build on our world cup performances and set up a good marker for ourselves.”
England Head Coach Gary Street added: “For a young player Katy has a wealth of experience behind her and she is an incredibly influential tactician on the pitch. When she’s previously stood in as captain she has led the team tremendously well and certainly her vice captain experience puts her in good stead.”