Mike Brown insists he always knew Harlequins team-mate Chris Robshaw was captaincy material from their days together in the club's academy.
Robshaw led from the front for England on Sunday, helping Stuart Lancaster's side record a 12-6 victory over Ireland that maintains their perfect start to this year's RBS Six Nations campaign.
Brown, who also played in Dublin, was quick to praise the performance of the flanker, hailing him a "brilliant leader" though he knows better than most about Robshaw's qualities after the pair came through the ranks at club level.
"Chris has stayed the same person, even with the captaincy. He still works hard and is a brilliant leader and does for England exactly what he does for Quins," he said.
"It's great to have a leader like that who sets the example and you follow. When he needs to say something he will. He's a great bloke as well - I've known him since I was 18.
"When we were in the academy we were asked who would we pick as a future captain and we all chose Chris. Now he's England captain.
"He was exactly the same then as he is now - he leads by example and works so hard on and off the field. He's a great character and always has a smile on his face.
"When he says something you listen and that's something he's had throughout his rugby career.
"It shows the type of bloke he is that he can step up and lead the team after just one cap. He's a world class player and he's shown that recently."
England's second straight success in this year's championship means they are the only side capable of still claiming the Grand Slam.
They next face troubled France - who have been beaten by Italy and Wales so far in 2013 - at Twickenham on February 23.
"France haven't had the best of starts, but they're a brilliant team who on their day can beat anyone in the world," Brown, who normally plays full-back at club level but has been moved out wide for his country, said.
"Look at how many times they've beaten New Zealand when everyone's written them off, so they'll be a tough, tough test.
"They have brilliant players throughout their squad and will be a wounded animal, which makes them very dangerous.
"But the boys are looking forward to it and hopefully we can do a job. It will be a massive test."