Jonny Wilkinson singled out Manu Tuilagi as the future of English rugby after the Leicester centre was included in the starting line-up for a World Cup warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.
Wilkinson, now with French club Toulon, has played against Tuilagi's four elder brothers - Freddie, Henry, Alesana and Anitelea - who are all typically powerful and hard-hitting internationals of the kind the world has come to expect from Samoan rugby.
But Wilkinson believes England may have the very best an extraordinary family has to offer in that Manu marries Pacific Island power with the skills of former England match-winner Jason Robinson or New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams.
"Manu has that aura about him, that Jason Robinson uniqueness about his ability to impact on a game," said Wilkinson, who this weekend will once again be England's starting flyhalf.
"When someone has that ability as an individual to change a game you know he has to be special. I saw it a bit in Toulon with Sonny Bill Williams. He has the power, the speed and he reads the game incredibly well. His focus is very sharp, he doesn't drop off," added Wilkinson.
The England legend explained that there is far more to Tuilagi's game than just raw power, and sees the versatile youngster as the future of the game.
He said: "You'd think he's all about running over people but he has got the footwork and the passing skills and he can kick a ball pretty well. You have to sit back and acknowledge that you are seeing the future of the game right here, with this breed of youngster coming through."
Centre has proved a problem position for England ever since the retirement of Wilkinson's fellow World Cup-winner Will Greenwood. Head coach Martin Johnson, England's victorious captain in 2003, has gone through 12 different centres in his 31 Tests in charge but few have had the potential of Tuilagi.
"Manu is an explosive player. He likes to come out of the line and hit people and he can carry the ball very powerfully," said Johnson.
"He is not just a power runner. He has good skills and good rugby awareness. He is an exciting 20-year-old. He has all the talents to develop into a top player," explained the England mentor.
Yet a year ago Tuilagi faced deportation from his adopted country after it emerged he had arrived in England as a 13-year-old on a six-month holiday visa. But weeks of campaigning ultimately led British authorities to give Tuilagi a special dispensation to stay.
Tuilagi went on to be named the Premiership's young player of the year. But he missed Leicester's loss in the Premiership final to Saracens through suspension after punching Northampton and England wing Chris Ashton in the semifinal.
That incident raised questions about Tuilagi's temperament but Johnson, answering his own question, said: "Can he handle the pressure of Test match rugby? I think he'll be fine...He hasn't looked overawed at any point."
Although he still lives with Alesana, who is set to represent Samoa at next month's World Cup in New Zealand, Manu Tuilagi has no unease about opting to playing international rugby for England.
"No it wasn't a difficult decision. I grew up here and all my rugby was here. I played England Under-16s, 18s and 20s and if you play for those age groups then obviously you want to get to the top," said Tuilagi.
"I consider myself fully English as a rugby player - but that Samoan side to just come out the line and smash people, you never lose it. It's good fun," he added.
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