Tom Croft is ready for an England recall and a second successive Lions tour according to his club coach.
Croft starred for Leicester in their 48-10 thumping of Sale on Saturday and Richard Cockerill saw more than enough from his star blindside to suggest that an international return is easily within his reach.
The 27-year-old spent nearly nine months on the sidelines after a neck operation and hadn’t made back-to-back starts since making his comeback at Worcester in early January.
Saturday’s bonus-point win over the Aviva Premiership’s bottom side was just his fifth start since April last year but Cockerill is convinced Coft is now ready to step back into the Test fold.
"If England have an issue, I have no hesitation that Crofty is good enough to go and play a Test match next week," said Cockerill.
"If we put ourselves in the play-off mix for the Premiership and Tom is outstanding when we play Toulon in the Heineken Cup quarter-final, clearly there is an opportunity for him to go on a Lions tour this summer too."
As for Croft, his attentions are fully focused on simply finding his form at the moment – somewhat unsurprisingly given how close he came to being paralysed after a collision with Harlequins’ Nick Easter towards the end of last season.
He understandably made no mention of the Lions when talking to the press at Welford Road and has instead targeted a place on England’s summer tour of Argentina.
But given his fine showing the last time Britain and Ireland’s elite travelled south in 2009 and the fact that Stephen Ferris is now highly unlikely to be fit enough to tour and Dan Lydiate is still out with an ankle injury, another Lions call up still seems a possibility.
"England would be a bonus after the season I have had," added Croft.
"My first priority is playing for Leicester and helping the club win silverware, and if that led to selection for the summer tour, that would be good.
"The England coaches have remained in touch and I just have to concentrate on improving my game."