Sir Ian McGeechan believes Martin Johnson's England have got the right mix of players to be contenders for next year's World Cup in New Zealand.
The former Lions coach, who is Bath's new performance director, was impressed by England's Test victory over Australia in Sydney last month.
And if England, lifted by young talent like scrum-half Ben Youngs, second row Courtney Lawes and wing Chris Ashton, can make further progress over the next year, McGeechan believes they will be the best World Cup bet among northern-hemisphere sides.
"England, of all the sides at the moment, have probably got the best mix of established, experienced players and enthusiastic quality younger players," McGeechan told the Daily Telegraph.
"If that continues to evolve over the next 12 months then they will probably be in pretty good shape for the World Cup.
"Johnno knows what he wants and he knows what it takes to create a winning environment. The key is for him to see that what they achieved in that last Test against Australia is just a staging point rather than a finishing line."
Leicester scrum-half Youngs, 20, particularly impressed McGeechan with his inspirational performance against the Wallabies.
McGeechan added: "Sometimes making just one change affects the way others play and I think Johnson's decision to play Ben Youngs was critical for England.
"The way Youngs played had an impact on what happened around him and that drew slightly different games out of other players."