Martin Johnson left the door open for Steve Borthwick's return as England captain after refusing to confirm Lewis Moody was his skipper through to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Borthwick captained England for the first 20 Tests of Johnson's regime but last month he was dropped from the senior 32-man squad after a knee injury forced him to miss the summer tour of Australia. Moody took over and became only the second captain, after Johnson in 2003, to lead England to a Test match victory over the Wallabies on Australian soil.
"I will not commit to (Moody being captain until the World Cup)," said Johnson.
England launched their 2011 World Cup build-up with a pre-season training camp for both the senior and Saxons squads at Twickenham and Johnson admitted Borthwick had not received the treatment he deserved.
He added: "It is very competitive. The great thing about this camp is we have got the senior 32, which was a tough call, but also the guys who did not made have all come back.
"There is big pressure on guys. Anyone who thinks they are comfortable in the England 32 won't be there for very long.
"Guys are wondering how they are going to get in. It is very competitive and the best squad we have ever had.
"It doesn't get any tougher (than the conversation I had with Borthwick).
"You like to think people get what they deserve and he didn't get what he deserved.
"We had the conversation and Steve instantly said: 'I'll prove you wrong'. That is exactly what you want. He hasn't whined about it, he hasn't moaned about it."