Tom Youngs' hard work for Leicester Tigers is rewarded with England call
Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs has been called into England's 32-man squad for the autumn international series against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Youngs joins seven other Tigers in the squad – forwards Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Thomas Waldrom, together with backs Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi. Tom Croft remains on the sidelines as he recovers from injury.
Youngs, the 25-year-old uncapped hooker, replaces Bath's Rob Webber – who is recovering from a shoulder problem – as cover for Northampton's Dylan Hartley.
His inclusion in the squad, alongside younger brother Ben, had been anticipated, but it was still welcomed by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
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"Tom has done a lot of hard work to get this far and we're delighted for him that he has started to establish himself with Leicester and has now earned a call from England," he said. "Tom is a good lad, he has an excellent attitude to his work and he's making progress all the time."
A regular place in the Tigers' line-up has helped Youngs move rapidly forward, although Cockerill is quick to point out that he is not yet the finished article.
"He's started every game for us so far this season because we feel a run of games is important to his development. He's been playing very well," said Cockerill, a former hooker himself.
"He's still learning in his position, but he will do that more with every game he plays and we will see him getting better and better.
"With his body shape and mentality, he was born to be a hooker. A lot of the traits that he has are those that you need to be a good hooker.
"We wish him well, along with the rest of our international players, during the autumn series and look forward to their safe return to Tigers in due course."
Youngs is one of four players promoted from the England Saxons Elite Player squad, along with James Haskell, Ugo Monye and Mako Vunipola.
The players will meet on Sunday at the Football Association's new St George's Park facility.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "As a coaching team, we can't wait to go into camp and get the guys focused on what will be a massive challenge against Fiji and the three major Southern Hemisphere teams in successive weeks.
"We have been impressed with some of the rugby we have seen in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup, and are looking forward to the players bringing that form to Twickenham."