Jonny Wilkinson has hailed the heir-apparent to his England fly-half throne - Wasps prodigy Danny Cipriani.
And World Cup winner Wilkinson revealed he believes 20-year-old Cipriani is “coping” with things a lot better than he did at a similar age.
Cipriani was just three months old when Wales last won at Twickenham, and he could help extend that long losing sequence if he appears off the bench when Wales arrive in London on Saturday.
Wilkinson finds himself in familiar territory this weekend, steering England through the hazards of a tricky RBS 6 Nations Championship opener, and he has no doubt about uncapped Cipriani’s temperament for top-level rugby.
The Newcastle star said: “We need guys like Danny Cipriani at the moment, who are driving the standards of those around him, all those playing with him and against him.
"He’s setting back the parameters of what it takes at that level, which is great for English rugby and the England squad.
“The more guys we’ve got doing that - and there are loads of them at the moment - the better.”
Wilkinson, who wins his 66th cap this weekend and needs just 18 points to reach 1,000 for England, arrived on the Test scene as an 18-year-old in 1998.
But he believes Cipriani has an edge over him as he prepares to step out on what could be a long and successful international career.
Wilkinson added: “I see a guy who is coping with it a lot better than I did.
“He has got that authoritative side to him, which is great. He’s already got a good rounded view of where he sees the game going.
“He has come in with his own views. He has got his mind set on what he wants and how he wants to play the game. That’s fantastic.
“For a young guy to stand up and tell people what needs to be done is exactly what the team needs.
“There is no pretentiousness or arrogance in this squad. It is very open and very respectful, and everyone is keen to listen.”
Starting against Wales, England will look to make an overdue impact in the RBS 6 Nations this season.
They have not won the title since their 2003 Grand Slam-winning campaign, and with three successive away games facing them after Wales, it is imperative Wilkinson and company start on a winning note.
England, and Wilkinson acknowledges it, cannot afford to be caught napping following the 2007 World Cup final as they were four years earlier after their heroic exploits Down Under.
He said: “We need to carry on from where we tried to leave off (in France last October), carrying on that momentum, but at the same time you need to look ahead.
“In 2003, a few guys retired and then a few more guys retired about a year later, and there were all these decisions about who to pick and what team to go for.
“You need to start again and start finding and developing these players who can lead the country to the next big thing.
“We are an enthusiastic bunch of guys with the talent to go out there and show our best.”
England reported a clean bill of health after training on Wednesday, and they now head to London from their Bath base to complete preparations.