Danny Cipriani has not fallen behind Marcus Smith in England pecking order, says John Mitchell
Last Updated: 11/03/19 3:54pm
Marcus Smith has not moved ahead of Danny Cipriani in the pecking order at fly-half for England, insists defence coach John Mitchell.
Harlequins fly-half Smith, 20, was included by head coach Eddie Jones in a 31-man training squad for Saturday's game against Scotland.
However Mitchell says Smith's presence in the squad is with an eye on the future, rather than the present.
"Every time you come into training camp there is a reason. Some are considered for selection, definitely," Mitchell told Sky Sports News.
"Some are definitely looked at in terms of the future. We are also observing character as well and how they train as professionals.
"[Smith] is here to train. He will not be considered for selection. He has got a bright future.
"I think it is important for us to realise that as much as we are dealing with the immediate that we also need to prepare for succession in the future as well.
"We have not seen Marcus for a while so it is very important to bring him in. And he will grow from being present and rubbing shoulders with Owen [Farrell] and George [Ford] as well."
Cipriani started England's final Test of their summer tour of South Africa, which they won 25-10, but has been frozen out since with Eddie Jones opting to pick just two fly-halves - Ford and Farrell - for the November internationals and the Six Nations.
Mitchell says the door is not closed on Cipriani's England career and insists Jones has been very clear with the Gloucester star about what aspects of his game need to improve in order to earn a recall.
"If something happened to George and Owen I think there would be a far more critical debate around selection and identifying what is right for the team," Mitchell said.
"The door is never closed on anyone. Ultimately, the boss is very good at communicating to the guys and they need to know what is expected of them.
"I know he has been very clear in that area."