OK, so there are a few players in the squad who can consider themselves lucky to be there - Ben Kay, Luke Narraway and Toby Flood for instance - and I'd have liked to have seen just a tad more boldness shown by the inclusion of Shane Geraghty and Ben Foden - but all in all the squad looks well balanced with plenty of experience backed up by young first-timers such as Dylan Hartley, David Paice, Nick Kennedy, Danny Care and Topsy Ojo. When you consider that the likes of Vickery, Moody, Ellis, Wilkinson, Lewsey and Simpson-Daniel have been left out to deal with various injuries, it shows that there is a fair bit of depth in the English game.
Steve Borthwick, vastly underrated by the British press (and in particular by a certain Stephen Jones) is a great choice as skipper and, assuming that key players don't fall by the wayside as the Premiership reaches its conclusion during the next couple of weeks, this squad could mount a decent challenge in New Zealand.
However, given that even the best England team in living memory only managed a 2 point win in Wellington in 2003, expectations need to be set accordingly - a drawn series would therefore represent a major achievement and 2 narrow defeats (as long as the team performs) might even be acceptable.
Forwards: A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), T Payne (Wasps), M Stevens (Bath), J Hobson (Bristol), L Mears (Bath), D Hartley (Northampton), D Paice (London Irish), S Borthwick (Bath, capt), B Kay (Leicester), N Kennedy (London Irish), T Palmer (Wasps), T Croft (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), M Lipman (Bath), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins), L Narraway (Gloucester).
Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), P Sackey (Wasps), D Strettle (Harlequins), T Ojo (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle), M Tindall (Gloucester), J Noon (Newcastle), T Flood (Newcastle), O Barkley (Bath), D Cipriani (Wasps), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), P Richards (London Irish), D Care (Harlequins).