Stuart Lancaster has hailed Tom Wood as a ‘stand-out player in a stand-out Northampton team’.
And the England boss has backed the flanker, who just missed out on the national captaincy as Chris Robshaw was given the role, to put in a big performance against Australia on Saturday.
Wood will line up at six against the Wallabies, hoping to build on a solid start to the season that has seen him help Saints up to second in the Aviva Premiership standings.
And Lancaster is clearly a big fan of the man he chose to skipper England in their successful Test series in Argentina during the summer.
“In camp Tom’s shown the confidence he’s demonstrated in his performances for Northampton,” said Lancaster. “He’s been a stand-out player in a stand-out team.
“He’s brought that presence and confidence he’s had from those games and he’s brought the leadership I saw in Argentina as a support player for Chris.
“Right place, right time, Tom’s spoken up but he’s also a leader by his actions and the Tom Wood we will see on Saturday will be the one we’ve seen so far in the Premiership.
“We’re delighted to have him in the team.”
Lee Dickson and Courtney Lawes will join Wood in the England starting line-up for Saturday’s Twickenham Test.
And Lancaster says the form of the Saints duo have been key as they edged out strong rivals for their respective positions.
“Form has always been the overriding factor in selection for me,” he said. “This is Lee’s 10th cap now in 18 internationals I’ve been involved in and at the start of the season he’s the one who’s really shone.
“It’s a difficult decision because we’ve got quality scrum-halves in Ben Youngs and Danny Care but on form alone Lee Dickson edges it.
“It’s quite a simplistic formula. Where you’ve got people competing side by side, we had a good look at the start of the Premiership and to be picked for this England team you’ve got to be playing well.
“Second row is also a case in point and it’s hard to argue that Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury don’t deserve a chance.
“It’s time for Courtney to come in and show his leadership in the lineout.”
Dylan Hartley and Ben Foden will be on the bench for the first of England’s three November internationals, but Alex Corbisiero misses out with a knee injury.