Johnno drops Borthwick hint
Lock can regain captaincy, according to England manager
Last Updated: August 12, 2010 1:23am
Borthwick: Door still open
Martin Johnson has hinted that Steve Borthwick could make a return as England captain after refusing to confirm Lewis Moody as skipper in the run-up to the 2011 World Cup.
"We had the conversation and Steve instantly said: 'I'll prove you wrong'. That is exactly what you want."
Martin Johnson on Steve Borthwick Quotes of the week
The Saracens lock captained England for the first 20 Tests of Johnson's tenure as team manager, but had to be removed from the role for the summer tour Down Under due to a recurring knee injury.
Moody took over and led the side to a Test victory over Australia. With Borthwick then left out of the 32-man senior squad for the coming season, it seemed the Bath new boy was set to continue as captain this season.
However, Johnson says that competition for places in the squad remains fierce and the veteran lock could well force himself back into contention.
"I will not commit to (Moody being captain until the World Cup)," he said.
"It is very competitive. The great thing about this camp is we have got the senior 32, which was a tough call, but also the guys who did not made have all come back.
"There is big pressure on guys. Anyone who thinks they are comfortable in the England 32 won't be there for very long.
"Guys are wondering how they are going to get in. It is very competitive and the best squad we have ever had.
"It doesn't get any tougher (than the conversation I had with Borthwick). You like to think people get what they deserve and he didn't get what he deserved.
"We had the conversation and Steve instantly said: 'I'll prove you wrong'. That is exactly what you want. He hasn't whined about it, he hasn't moaned about it."
Borthwick has fallen behind Dave Attwood, Courtney Lawes and Tom Palmer in the second-row pecking order, but Johnson says the former Bath forward is still very much part of the England set-up.
He added: "I said to the guys we are treating the whole group as a squad. It is not Saxons and seniors.
"If you are playing better than the number one guy then there is never a time when you haven't found yourself in the England team. Steve knows that and he is keen to get cracking."