During this year's RBS 6 Nations however, Warburton started as first choice openside flanker but had to battle for his place back in the side before his man of the match performance against Scotland.
He also excelled against England as Wales successfully defended their RBS 6 Nations crown, dovetailing with Justin Tipuric - a rival for the Lions No.7 shirt.
And with Ireland's Sean O'Brien and England's Tom Croft also competing for the flanker positions, Warburton revealed he likes to be kept on his toes.
"You don't want to become complacent and think you have got a starting place in the team," he said.
"I like it when you go into the team announcements and you are on the edge not knowing if you are going to get picked.
"Knowing that you might not be involved is what keeps you going in training and keeps you dedicated off the pitch as well.
"What Warren has emphasised is that he feels he has a squad where everyone can compete for a Test starting XV place, and that's the best way to be, so everyone is on edge in training.
"Even just lifting weights and doing fitness work, you can tell people have lifted it from international level. The standard and the bar has been raised, and all the boys are gunning for those Test spots."