Varndell tipped for recall

Croft backs in-form Tigers winger to make England return

By Ben Collins.   Last Updated: 27/11/07 2:19pm

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Varndell: Back to his best

Varndell: Back to his best

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Leicester forward Tom Croft has labelled team-mate Tom Varndell "world class" and believes he is ready for an England recall.

Varndell won the last of his three England caps in June 2006 and played two games on loan at National League One side Bedford last season but the dynamic winger has made an impressive return to Welford Road.

The 23-year-old scored a brace of tries in the EDF Energy Cup final victory over the Ospreys and this term has continued where he left off, scoring another double in Saturday's 29-6 win at Leeds Carnegie to take his overall tally to 50 tries in 74 appearances for the Tigers.

Croft now feels Varndell is back to his best and could be a valuable asset for England during next year's Six Nations.

"Tom may have had a hard year last season but he is a world-class player," Croft told the Leicester Mercury.

"He went to Bedford on loan last season but he has picked up his form, worked hard on his game and shown that he should be in the England side."


Varndell pounced on mistakes by Leeds winger Apo Satala and full-back Leigh Hinton to score his first try against Leeds, before racing onto Sam Vesty's grubber kick in the final minute.

"It's great to have a player like that because, if you give him space, he will score tries," said Croft.

"He is a quality finisher and that's why he is in the team. He has got good skill and is one of the fastest players I know. It would be good to see him up against (South Africa's) Bryan Habana."

While Varndell's finishing skills have never been in doubt, there have been question marks over his defensive capabilities.

But Croft, who was man-of-the-match against Leeds, reckons Varndell is now the complete package.

"Maybe when he was 16 (his defence was suspect)," he added. "But he has worked very hard on his defence and now he is second to none.

"He won't let anyone go round him. He gives them the outside and he will put them into touch."

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