George Ford has been 'nothing but impressed' with Manu Tuilagi as the powerful Leicester centre prepares for his Aviva Premiership return.
Tuilagi will line up for the Tigers against Ford's former club Bath on Sunday, making a first Premiership appearance since January, when he was sidelined by a knee injury.
He also takes the spotlight again after being sent home early along with Sale Sharks wing Denny Solomona from an England training camp last month following what the Rugby Football Union described as 'team culture issues.'
Manu Tuilagi's preparation ahead of the Aviva Premiership opener has impressed team-mates
Tigers and England fly-half Ford, though, believes that Tuilagi, who has only played for England once since 2014, can recapture top form.
'I have been nothing but impressed with Manu around the club,' Ford said, during Tigers' preparations for the new campaign.
'He is in good spirits. He just wants to play. He wants to train each week, play at the weekend and we will see the best of him I am sure.
'I genuinely believe he can (get back to his best). He looks in good shape and is training consistently on the field, and I could not be more impressed with the lines he has been running in attack, his communication and what he was doing defensively.
'I want him outside of me, that's for sure. We want to give Manu the ball one-on-one if we can, or give him ball when he has space to run at someone.'
The Premiership fixture planners have thrown up an immediate Bath reunion for Ford following his departure from the Recreation Ground earlier this year.
George Ford is preparing to face former club Bath and