Leicester fly-half George Ford dropped a cheeky comment over his England inclusion after helping the Tigers beat Bath on Friday night.
Following the news that Owen Farrell had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday and Marcus Smith not being ruled fit to start, Ford was thought to be next in line for the number 10 jersey.
However the experienced playmaker, who was excluded from head coach Eddie Jones’ squad for the Autumn internationals, wasn’t called up and instead represented Leicester on Friday night.
After being asked whether he received a call from Jones, Ford responded with a grin: “Don’t assume anything. My phone was off anyway.”
Leicester have now won eight from eight in the opening stages of the Premiership and Ford’s excellent form has played a central roll in Steve Borthwick’s side.
Ford added: “Regardless of being picked for England or not being picked for England, my attitude should be the same.”
With 76 international caps to his name Ford is one of England’s most experienced fly-halves of all time and is widely regarded as world class in attack.
The Oldham-born star re-joined Leicester in 2017 having spent four years with Friday night’s opponents Bath.
With Farrell now out of action, Jones is waiting to hear back from other PCR tests to determine his team to face Tonga on Saturday, but the initial side named looked like:
ENGLAND XV STARTERS
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
14. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 40 caps)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 43 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 66 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 109 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 59 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 44 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 48 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 87 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)
8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 33 caps)
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 72 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 1 cap)
21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 2 caps)
23. George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)