Palmer keen to lock up spot
England second rower Tom Palmer is refusing to rest on his laurels despite his impressive display in the win over Australia.
Last Updated: 16/11/10 5:35pm
Tom Palmer admits it is an "exciting time to be involved with England", making him wish he was five years younger.
The Stade Francais lock played a key role in helping Martin Johnson's side seal a record 35-18 win over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The 31-year-old was one of a few experienced old heads in an otherwise youthful line-up that suggests the future is bright for the national team.
He admits he is slightly envious of second-row colleague Courtney Lawes, who has established himself in the starting XV at the age of just 21. Palmer made his debut back in 2001 but won just his 18th cap against the Wallabies.
"Now is a really exciting time to be involved with England," he said. "After the game I was thinking 'I wish I was five years younger'.
"I was sitting with Courtney Lawes at the dinner and I was a little bit envious that he is 21 and getting established in the team and it has taken me until I am 31 to do so.
"This team has an enormous amount of potential. We have seen the work we have been doing over the last six months really starting to bear fruit.
"If we keep playing the way we are playing now I think we can be a really good side.
"The aim of the team is to always keep improving. That is where you have to be as a great side, you can't take anything for granted.
"We have put three quite good performances together in a row now but we have two more tough challenges, against Samoa and South Africa. Then the Six Nations.
"The challenge is to keep playing how we played last weekend. It is an exciting time to be in this squad because I think we have got the ability to keep on doing that."
Palmer had to bide his time for his chance in the pack having found himself behind Steve Borthwick and Simon Shaw in the pecking order last year.
But he grabbed his chance off the bench against France in the Six Nations and has since started both summer Tests against Australia and also the first two Investec internationals of the autumn.
"That was probably my best performance for England but that is what you need at this level," said Palmer.
"After putting in a good performance last week against Australia and a pretty decent performance the week before against New Zealand, I'm feeling fairly secure I suppose.
"You can't ever rest on your laurels because there's no such thing as a perfect game. I'm pleased with how my Test career is going. I've finally got a run of games under my belt.
"The fact the captain (Borthwick) was in my position was something that made it harder for me to get into the side.
"I was a bit philosophical about it. I had the whole new challenge of moving to France, a big new chapter in my life.
"I thought: 'There is nothing I can do to change their minds except for working hard and keep plugging away. If it comes, it comes. If not I have played some international rugby, I have got some caps and I am enjoying living where I am'.
"I got my chance when two guys got injured in quick succession and when you get those opportunities you have to take them."
Palmer, England's lineout captain who previously played for Wasps and Leeds, feels that his decision to move to France has been a key factor in his revival at the highest level.
"It has been a good move for me out there," he added. "I am enjoying myself out there, playing a slightly different style of rugby. It's an opportunity to learn and pick up little things off other players out there."