Ben Youngs wants to retain the Six Nations crown and claim his Lions shirt
England went unbeaten in 2016, going some way towards exorcising the demons of a disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign with a Grand Slam and a 3-0 away series win over Australia.
Youngs played every game and earned the praise of head coach Eddie Jones, who publicly recommended him for Warren Gatland's squad in New Zealand this summer.
And the Leicester scrum-half is confident that if England are strong in the spring, he has a chance of a plane ticket to the southern hemisphere.
Ben Youngs impressed in a Lions jersey in Australia four years ago
“If you look across the board, it should be one of the most competitive Six Nations to be a part of,” said Youngs.
“It’s going to be fantastic – each team has had some impressive performances and some big results.
"We know that’s going to lead to some big competition.
Ben Youngs was integral to England's success in 2016
“Each will be massive test, France first up is a battle and Italy always gives it their all and is getting results to go with it.
“Whatever happens and whoever wins, it’s going to be exciting.
"You look at every nation and there are plenty of strengths, they're all in good form.
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“There’s no hiding that the Lions is the golden egg at the end, every player will be doing their all and history shows a team that’s successful in a Six Nations has good Lions representation.”
Youngs won two Lions caps in Australia back in 2013, once as a replacement and starting in the second Test defeat in Melbourne.
But he has made the England No 9 shirt his own for the most part, despite Danny Care being preferred against France and Scotland during last year's Six Nations.
And in fact, it is that competition for places that Youngs reckons will serve the defending champions well when they take on France on February 4 at Twickenham.
“The great thing about England is the strength in depth that we have,” Youngs added.
“We had a number of injuries, but the one thing that seems to be ever-present is having two or three pushing for each position.
“And to be back involved with something like that is really exciting.
“You still get that buzz every time you see your name on there, it makes you realise that the tournament is just around the corner and we’re all really excited.”
***Ben Youngs is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover continues to champion grassroots rugby through its We Deal in Real campaign. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal***