England Rugby World Cup winning lock Danny Grewcock has backed Northampton Saint Courtney Lawes for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour.
Lawes returned to playing rugby in the Aviva Premiership last month after being sidelined since February with knee, shin and elbow problems.
The injuries caused him to miss all but one Six Nations match and all of England's June tour to South Africa.
Leicester lock Geoff Parling, Saracens Mouritz Botha and Tom Palmer all impressed in Lawes' absence but Grewcock says the Northampton man should walk back into Stuart Lancaster's starting XV for the autumn internationals.
Lawes has started every match since making his comeback against Worcester and Grewcock who won 69 caps for England and 5 for the Lions says Lawes only really needs to prove his fitness.
"I think if we are looking from an England point of view from the second row then you don't have to look any further than Courtney Lawes, even if he has been injured," Grewcock said on the Premiership site.
"England are in a very strong position with second rows, some very talented lads there have all taken their opportunities with the likes of Mouritz Botha, Tom Palmer and Geoff Parling all coming in.
"But Courtney was certainly, prior to his injury, the number one guy in the second row."
"I think he was the probably the form second row for England for a very long time and his game was outstanding.
"He was breaking tackles, running with ball in hand and generally making a menace of himself around the pitch, finally conjuring up that bit of fear a second row needs."
Grewcock toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2011 and 2005 and he believes that Lawes can feature on next year's to to Australia.
"It would be good to see him get back and get back in that England jersey, and I'm sure anyone in the England jersey he is going to be in a position to contest for that Lions shirt.
"He faces a bit of a race against time I suppose but the way he was playing before he went down injured; he is definitely one to keep an eye on if he reproduces that kind of form."