Six Nations: Manu Tuilagi recalled to England's matchday squad for Italy game
Manu Tuilagi has been recalled to the England matchday squad for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome.
Last Updated: 11/03/14 10:45pm
The Leicester centre will almost certainly start on the bench, where he takes the place of Alex Goode.
If he comes on it will be his first appearance for England since last season's Six Nations defeat by Wales in Cardiff, that crushed the visiting team's title hopes.
England coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed the return of Tuilagi on Tuesday evening, but he has already dropped a heavy hint that the starting XV will be unchanged against the Azzurri.
Tuilagi suffered a chest muscle injury playing for the Tigers against Newcastle back in September.
He made his return for Leicester last month and, despite only playing 70 minutes of club rugby, has done enough to convince Lancaster he is ready for action.
He will cover midfield and wing positions against Italy from the bench, with starting wings Jonny May and Jack Nowell both able to play at 15 should Mike Brown be injured.
Lancaster said: "Manu trained well with us last week and today and is up to speed with the way we want to play. Alex Goode has done well for us off the bench and is naturally disappointed but we believe Manu, with the power and physicality he can bring, is the right choice to be included in the 23 for this game.
"Every member of the squad has contributed to the cause over the last seven weeks and those not involved this weekend deserve massive credit for the way they have trained and pushed hard for places.
"There will be opportunities down the line, not least on the tour to New Zealand, and they can further stake their claims for that trip with strong performances for their clubs."
Wasps prop Matt Mullan and Bath back Kyle Eastmond will travel with the squad on Thursday as 24th and 25th men.
Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Freddie Burns, Goode, Matt Kvesic, Ed Slater, Anthony Watson, Marland Yarde and Ben Youngs have all returned to their clubs.
Forwards: David Attwood (Bath), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins),
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester)
Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)