- Steve Thompson speaks to RFU.com about the older head in the dressing room
- Back yourself and the rest of the team will too says hooker
Steve Thompson believes the balance is right in the current England squad, with the experienced heads providing the platform for the younger talent to express themselves.
The Leeds Carnegie hooker has re-emerged as an integral part of the England set-up, playing in each of the four Investec Internationals this autumn.
With England 61 caps spread over a decade, Thompson has been involved in many different squads and thinks the older players empower the new generation to play their best rugby at this level.
Speaking exclusively to RFUtv, the 32-year-old said: "A couple of younger players here, when they played for England for the first couple of times, they didn’t play their natural game and produce the form they were picked for.
"Sometimes it comes to the older guys to say: ‘you were picked for a reason, look at your strengths and go for it.’
"If you back yourself then the rest of your team will too so having the older heads around helps that."
Thompson battled back from a serious neck injury sustained in 2007, which lead to a 38 month international hiatus.
The former Northampton Saints stalwart takes great pride in returning to play for Martin Johnson’s side, adding: "When I retired I was happy at first as I was tired but suddenly I got that itch and wanted to come back.
"I was still young and could do it, and when people said you can’t do it that just made me want to do it more, that’s the thing that kept me going."