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Richard Cockerill believes flanker Tom Croft is ready for England duty after an outstanding performance in Leicester's 48-10 victory over Sale.
Croft was making only his fifth start since returning on January 4 from a neck operation, which kept him out for nine months, and Saturday's Aviva Premiership win at Welford Road was the first time he had played back-to-back games.
But the 27-year-old produced a fabulous performance on his 100th start for Leicester against the bottom club, and Cockerill believes he is ready for an England recall and could even make the British and Irish Lions summer tour to Australia.
He said: "He is a good enough player to go and play. He has played two full games now and if England needed him I'm sure he would be ready to go and do a job.
"Tom's attitude has been outstanding and he has used the time when he has not been playing to deal with his contact work and his conditioning.
"With 15 minutes to go he was wanting a bit of oxygen but he works to the maximum all the time."
Asked whether Croft could make the Lions tour, Cockerill said: "It depends how we play to the end of the season.
"If we keep ourselves in the play-off mix and we go to Toulon (in the Heineken Cup) and Tom is outstanding in that company, there is an opportunity for him to go on the Lions tour.
"I'd have no hesitation in saying that Tom is ready to go and play a Test match next week. He has worked really hard and been patient and we are now getting the rewards."
Leicester's maximum points from a six-tries-to-one win put them back in the hunt for a home play-off semi-final after successive defeats by the top two, Harlequins and Saracens.
Lock Ed Slater and centre Matt Smith each scored two tries plus there was one for Matthew Tait and a penalty try, while George Ford had a 100 per cent record with the boot, kicking 18 points. Replacement Andy Powell scored for Sale a minute from time.
Cockerill said: "It was a really good performance. Sale have got some issues but I thought the attitude of the players was outstanding.
"I was a bit surprised how easy it was to play against Sale, I thought they would be better. But I'm delighted, we needed to win and with the Quins result (losing to Exeter) it puts us back in the melting pot for the top two again.
"We have come out of this (international) period with 11 points from four games, which is not brilliant, but with some of the things that have gone against us we are still in the mix with guys to come back."
Sale's director of rugby Steve Diamond knows his side need to improve dramatically if they want to escape relegation.
He said: "We are really disappointed with the performance.
"We came here with what we thought was a competitive side and were drilled. I don't know why. Sometimes it happens. We have to look at ourselves and regroup.
"We have to win two or three games and put in better performances than today, otherwise our position will be justified.
"We have been in the Premiership since it began and we want that to continue. We will fight tooth and nail."
Sale may be thrown a lifeline if London Welsh are deducted points for fielding an ineligible player at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
Diamond said: "All the sides understand the severity of what is happening. Due process will take care of that on Tuesday.
"It's out of our hands. But if we play like we did today we won't win another game."