Croft, who made his club debut in November 2005 and has represented his country at age-group, A and Sevens levels, replaces Gloucester’s Luke Narraway in the England 22.
Croft is joined on the bench by Tigers colleague Ben Kay, with Sale’s Richard Wigglesworth making his first international start and London Irish’s Paul Hodgson included in the squad for the first time in his career.
Andrew Sheridan and captain Phil Vickery return to the England front row after injury ruled them out of the win over Italy.
Elsewhere, Tigers lock James Hamilton has been named among the Scottish replacements for his country’s clash with Ireland, for whom Geordan Murphy misses out on a place in the Irish 22.
England (vs France, Stade de France, Saturday, kick-off 8pm GMT)
15 Iain Balshaw (Gloucester Rugby)
14 Paul Sackey (London Wasps)
13 Jamie Noon (Newcastle Falcons)
12 Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons)
11 Lesley Vainikolo (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons)
9 Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)
1 Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
2 Mark Regan (Bristol Rugby)
3 Phil Vickery (London Wasps, captain)
4 Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
5 Steve Borthwick (Bath Rugby)
6 James Haskell (London Wasps)
7 Michael Lipman (Bath Rugby)
8 Nick Easter (Harelquins)
16 Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
17 Matt Stevens (Bath Rugby)
18 Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers)
19 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21 Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
22 Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons)