Leicester Tigers' centre Manu Tuilagi has been backed to be England's centre at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan according to his Aviva Premiership teammate Matt Toomua.
Tuilagi has only managed one cap since June 2014, with the last of his 26 coming off the bench against Wales in March 2016. He has struggled through injury and was sent home last August from England camp due "team culture issues".
But his Tigers teammate believes if he can get back to full fitness, Tuilagi will make Eddie Jones' starting fifteen at next year's World Cup where England face France, Argentina, USA and Tonga in Pool C.
"If he stays fit he will be the centre at the World Cup, no doubt, and he will have a huge role in it, too," Toomua told The Telegraph. "He has a unique skill-set and I don't think I've played with a guy like him. To be honest, the best is yet to come.
"He has played well, but I know he is going to be playing better in the next few weeks. That is pretty exciting. He is a special player and that is why we are constantly fielding questions about him as everyone is a little excited to see him kick on again. It is just about staying fit."
Toomua insists that while Tuliagi is expected to be back to his best on his return from injury, it often doesn't play out that way from his own experience.
"A few mental scars are there from the amount of injuries he has had and that is understandable, I get that as I've had my fair share of major injuries as well. He has the ability, we all know that, so it is about sticking with it, which we have done quite well. He is benefitting from time in the saddle and you have seen that recently.
"He is starting to get those noticeable things -- making breaks and scoring tries -- but it really started from small areas, the fitness and that is starting to come back. That is really exciting for us as he is well and truly a game-breaker at this level and at international level as well."