And with Stuart Lancaster opting to rest regular skipper Chris Robshaw, the England head coach has turned to Wood to lead a youthful squad into battle against the Barbarians and on their three-match tour to Uruguay and Argentina.
The England squad includes five players who are 21 or under, the youngest of whom is London Wasps No.8 Billy Vunipola, who represented England Under 20s last year.
Vunipola is joined in the set up by another ten uncapped players. They are forwards Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers) and Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), as well as backs Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Christian Wade (London Wasps) and Marland Yarde (London Irish).
Robshaw isn't the only England regular to be given a rest with Danny Care, Toby Flood, Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton also not making the journey to South America, while Anthony Allen and James Haskell were not considered on medical grounds.
Lancaster said: "We're really looking forward to this tour and we've selected a young and exciting side which I'm sure will do the country proud in a tough series of matches.
"The key principles in selection were threefold: first and foremost to win the games but also to develop strength in depth and more options in certain positions, and to give one or two players a physical and mental break.
"We feel we've got the balance right and have given places to a number of players who have shone in the Aviva Premiership this season, one or two who have been on the fringes for a while, and several players who have been involved over the last year or so. This is everyone's chance to step up.
"Tom Wood will captain the side and I am sure he will do a fantastic job, as he has the respect of all the players and management and we are looking forward to other leaders developing in the absence of some senior players.
"A few are being rested after a hard campaign but they will, of course, be considered by the British & Irish Lions should they be required."
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
Rob Buchanan (Harlequins, uncapped)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish, 18 caps)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 9 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 20 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 10 caps)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 10 caps)
David Paice (London Irish, 6 caps)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps, uncapped)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 26 caps)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, captain, 18 caps)
Mike Brown (Harlequins, 16 caps)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints, 30 caps)
Alex Goode (Saracens, 11 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish, 4 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
David Strettle (Saracens, 13 caps)
Joel Tomkins (Saracens, uncapped)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 4 caps)
Christian Wade (London Wasps, uncapped)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 12 caps)
Marland Yarde (London Irish, uncapped)