Manu Tuilagi is thrilled to be back in the England squad for the clash with Italy

Last Updated: 13/03/14 9:59pm

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Manu Tuilagi will be on the England bench in Rome on Saturday

Manu Tuilagi will be on the England bench in Rome on Saturday

Sky Bet

England centre Manu Tuilagi says he is very excited about making his return to international rugby against Italy this weekend.

The 22-year-old Leicester man is in line to make his first England appearance for a year at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, having recovered from a torn pectoral muscle.

He was initially expected to be out for eight weeks but a scan then revealed surgery was required and he has been forced to sit out the autumn internationals plus most of the Leicester season.

However, he has now recovered and has replaced Alex Goode on the bench for the Triple Crown-winners' final Six Nations game of the season.

"It's been a tough time and I've certainly missed the game," said Tuilagi.

"You just want to be out there, especially with the way the boys are playing. You want to be part of the team, so getting back in is great.

"You can have pent up energy when you're out of the game for a while.

"When some players come back in after being injured they get a bit too excited and you think, 'What are you doing?'.

"But then it happens to you, and you do the same. It's a natural thing to get excited when you haven't played for a while.

"I've missed a lot of games for England (nine) and this injury is the longest I've ever had.

"It's tough to be out and watching your team-mates, but that's part of the game so you have to get on with it.

"If I get the opportunity to come off the bench, I'll hopefully bring my normal game.

"I'm really excited to be back with the England boys and pulling on the shirt again. It's been great in training."

In Tuilagi's absence, Luther Burell and Billy Twelvetrees have formed a very useful partnership in the England midfield.

"Luther and Billy are great players and the way they've been playing lately - especially in that game against Wales (last Sunday) - has been great to watch," said Tuilagi.

"Obviously I want to be part of the team, but you've got to support the boys.

"It's going to take a lot of work for me to get back in, but hopefully I can keep doing what I do and I can be there."

Tuilagi will cover wing and centre from the bench in Italy and head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We'll wait and see how the game goes.

"He's trained on the wing, as well as in the centre. He knows the calls and the plays.

"It has been good to run him on the wing because that is where he played age-grade rugby.

"Manu will certainly have a free role to roam from the wing."

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