Will Greenwood says the England squad are in a great position heading into the autumn internationals
Last Updated: 26/10/17 3:35pm
Former England international Will Greenwood has said Eddie Jones and his squad are well placed to do well this autumn despite some players being unavailable.
England skipper Dylan Hartley had been in danger of missing autumn fixtures against Argentina, Australia and Samoa after he was cited for inadvertently catching Clermont prop Rabah Slimani in the face during a ruck cleanout, but the case against him was dismissed on Wednesday.
Harlequins prop Joe Marler was not so lucky and copped a three-week suspension for striking Wasps lock Will Rowlands.
Greenwood said while Jones will be delighted to have Hartley available, the absence of pretty much any English player through injury or suspension would do little to harm the squad at this present moment, such is the strength in depth.
"He'll [Jones] be chuffed to have his captain," Greenwood told Sky Sports News. "And he'll be over the moon to continue the Hartley/George debate and have them both available. I think we might also see a bit of Tom Dunn, the Bath hooker, being introduced into that squad.
"With Marler, Ellis Genges was wonderful for Leicester Tigers against Castres at the weekend so we could see him get a run out alongside one of the world's finest looseheads in Mako Vunipola.
"I think it's one of those where it's a disappointment for Marler but Eddie and the organisation just roll on. You're either with us or you're not.
"It's that feeling within the squad where you could copy and paste anyone in, and the way they're feeling, they've won 21 from 22 games, they just steam on. You don't want to miss the bus.
"So Eddie's not bothered but the individuals will be thinking: 'I'm missing two games, there's only 10/12 games before we get into a World Cup year'. You want to be careful how many you do dodge."
England head into the autumn internationals having won both summer Tests against Argentina, while a number of key players were also involved in the series draw between the British and Irish Lions and New Zealand.
Jones will announce his squad on Thursday morning but who does Greenwood expect to break in?
"Henry Slade of Exeter was brilliant in Argentina in the summer so we'll absolutely see him," Greenwood added. "Harry Williams the tighthead will come into the mix.
"Dan Cole has put in a massive shift for England and will still do a lot but you need to find that backup number three worth their weight in gold.
"Charlie Ewels will be there in the second row. It's a tough gig in the second row with (Courtney) Lawes, (Maro) Itoje, (George) Kruis, (Joe) Launchbury. Try breaking into that four. But Ewels played well in Argentina and has continued his good form at home.
"Billy Vunipola is injured, Jack Clifford is injured, we're still awaiting the result of Nathan Hughes' citing, but that will open the door for Zach Mercer or Sam Underhill, two Bath players who have been doing so well. I expect game time for both of those.
"I hope Semesa Rokoduguni gets a nod. He was picked before and had a short amount of time and was then dispatched and told to work on his game, but Eddie [Jones] has shown the players who do go away and improve can get another opportunity.
"They thought there was a defensive weakness there but I think his defensive reads and his ability to see what's in front of him is much better and what he has not lost is the power and pace to score a handful of tries.
"Then Jonny May can't stop scoring at Leicester. They're calling him Jonny Vardy. So it's a really exciting squad and will be a really good autumn.
"There's always that slight disappointment when you're the second best team in the world and haven't played New Zealand since 2014 and you're not playing them again, but enough of the Lions lot were English and they scratched away at this invincibility surface the All Blacks have by beating them there.
"So it's a confident squad and they're looking forward to a great autumn."
Watch Eddie Jones' squad announcement live on Sky Sports News at 9am on Thursday, October 26.