Croft joins four other Tigers in England’s RBS 6 Nations squad, with George Chuter, Louis Deacon, Ben Kay and Lewis Moody also among Brian Ashton’s chosen 32.
“I knew the announcement was on Sky Sports News so I literally just sat and watched that for an hour and my name popped up,” said Croft. “It was quite a weird way of finding out but a nice surprise. Matt Smith (Tigers utility back) was in the house as well but I think he was still in bed at the time! It’s just a massive shock and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I had a lot of texts and congratulations from relatives so it was quite a nice morning. I had a couple of texts from the boys and a bit of stick as well – the usual ‘big time’ banter.”
Croft wore his country’s colours at Saxons level last season, scoring the winning try in the Barclays Churchill Cup Final, and has also represented England at the U-21 and U-18 age groups as well as on the Sevens circuit.
“It’s a massive chance to gain some experience. The boys that have already taken the step up have shown that they’ve learnt a lot from the senior players. I’m sure the Leicester players in the squad will look after me and make sure I don’t do anything too stupid or embarrass myself.
“I won’t be so much of a duck of water because I’ve played with the majority of the younger lads throughout the age-groups and a handful of them with the Saxons so, hopefully, the transition won’t be too bad.”
Despite the excitement of the prospect of a possible first cap, Croft is fully focussed on his role here at Tigers, which starts with this Saturday’s trip to Scottish side Edinburgh in round five of the Heineken Cup.
“At the moment, I’m at Leicester and I need to concentrate on what I’m doing here. We’re not away with England so I’m just focusing on my job here. When you start playing rugby, you watch your heroes and your aim is to play for England. I’ve got a step closer but I’m not there yet. I haven’t played for England yet, I haven’t got that cap and I’ve got a lot of work to do.”