Martin Johnson has dismissed criticism of Danny Cipriani's celebrity lifestyle and instead praised the professionalism of the Wasps and England star.
Cipriani, 20, has become a tabloid favourite since he started dating actress and model Kelly Brook in the summer.
Some have criticised his apparent ease in front of the camera and claimed it is distracting him from his job as a professional rugby player, despite him recovering from a horrific leg break seven weeks ahead of schedule.
But England team manager Johnson insists he does not mind what Cipriani gets up to in his spare time.
“Initially we thought Danny would not be fit before the new year but the guy worked incredibly hard to get himself back,” Johnson said.
“That didn’t just happen by accident. Everything I have seen of him suggests he works very hard at being a good rugby player. He doesn’t get treated any differently to anyone else here.”
Johnson, who is considering playing Cipriani at full-back against the Pacific Islanders on November 8, believes the youngster is fully fit despite only playing four games since recovering from injury.
“It’s a balance because some of the guys have been playing for two or three months and have started to pick up knocks and have injuries,” he said.
“I’ll take a few fresh ones. There’s plenty of rugby to play. Danny’s trained very well and looks good.”
Johnson also dismissed fears over Dylan Hartley’s temperament and backed the uncapped Northampton hooker to cope with the pressures of playing international rugby.
Hartley’s on-field behaviour has come in for scrutiny ever since he was banned for six months last year for an eye-gouging incident involving Wasps and England flanker James Haskell.
But Johnson insists he has no concerns about handing the New Zealand-born hooker a first cap at Twickenham next Saturday.
Johnson said: “I am not concerned about Dylan. He had a long suspension and he is aware he may have picked up a bit of a reputation but we are not concerned about it.
“We trust him to be involved in the squad. If we didn’t trust him then we wouldn’t have him here.”