Palmer wants England to kick on
Tom Palmer admitted he is so excited by England's future that he sat at the team dinner after Saturday's 35-18 victory over Australia wishing he was five years younger.
The Stade Francais lock, 31, had just turned in the performance of his life as England sealed a record victory over the Wallabies that many hope will be a turning point for Martin Johnson's team.
"Now is a really exciting time to be involved with England," said the former Leeds and Wasps second row. "After the game I was thinking 'I wish I was five years younger'."
He added: "I was sitting with Courtney Lawes at the dinner and I was a little bit envious that he is 21 and getting established in the team and it has taken me until I am 31 to do so. This team has an enormous amount of potential. We have seen the work we have been doing over the last six months really starting to bear fruit.
"If we keep playing the way we are playing now I think we can be a really good side. The aim of the team is to always keep improving. That is where you have to be as a great side, you can't take anything for granted.
"We have put three quite good performances together in a row now but we have two more tough challenges, against Samoa and South Africa. Then the Six Nations. The challenge is to keep playing how we played last weekend. It is an exciting time to be in this squad because I think we have got the ability to keep on doing that."
Palmer was given his international debut in 2001, when he was playing for Leeds in the old National League One. In nine years he has won just 18 caps. But in the last six months Palmer has established himself in the England team, after grabbing his chance off the bench against France in the Six Nations.
On Saturday, Palmer produced a defining individual performance against the Wallabies encapsulated by his double defensive contribution to Chris Ashton's length-of-the field try. He halted Nathan Sharpe's drive for the line and then picked himself up to tackle Will Genia and secure the key turnover from which England scored.
"That was probably my best performance for England but that is what you need at this level," said Palmer. "You can't ever rest on your laurels because there's no such thing as a perfect game, but I'm pleased with how my Test career is going. I've finally got a run of games under my belt."
Johnson has retained the full 22-man squad that featured against Australia plus wing/centre Matt Banahan, loose forward James Haskell and lock Dave Attwood. The players released for club duty are: Anthony Allen, George Chuter, Tim Payne, Joe Worsley, Riki Flutey, Dominic Waldouck, David Strettle and Paul Doran-Jones.