Chris Robshaw has had to prove his fitness (Gareth Fuller/PA)
That prospect appears unlikely after Wilson took advantage of his injury to make himself an indispensable part of England’s back row, primarily as a number eight during the autumn series but this year at six.
Also competing for the position is Brad Shields, the former Hurricanes flanker who is favoured by the management despite an indifferent first season at Wasps.
“Mark and Chris are very high work rate players,” assistant coach Neal Hatley said.
“In the autumn Mark really took a step up from a carrying point of view. We played him at eight where there are more opportunities to carry.
“From a work rate point of view both are pretty similar, but at the moment Mark has got that position and he’s grasped it with both hands. The others have to chase him down.
“He’s an unbelievably proud Englishman, he’s got real competitive desire to make tackles and then to get up and compete for the ball. He has been outstanding.”
Robshaw won the most recent of his 66 caps during last summer’s tour to South Africa but has slipped down the pecking order with the World Cup looming.Mark Wilson has established himself as first choice (Steven Paston/PA)
He made his comeback for Harlequins against Saracens on January 26 and was watched by Hatley in Saturday’s 31-29 victory at Bath.
“Chris looked good. Physically he’s in as good a shape as we’ve seen him,” Hatley said.
“He’s in really good condition. Last weekend he made 28/30 tackles and got two turnovers. He’s come back in good shape and his big challenge now is to add value.
“He’s combative and very dependable. He’s got an excellent work rate and he doesn’t make many mistakes. That’s quite a good commodity.”
It appears unlikely, however, that he will have sufficient time to force himself into the frame against the Azzurri or the climax to the Six Nations against Scotland a week later.
“Everyone has a chance to play. It depends on how Chris goes over the next two days of training,” Hatley said.
“We’ve talked continuously about developing strength in depth and we see Chris as an important of that.”Maro Itoje is back in the squad after a knee injury (Adam Davy/PA)
Maro Itoje is included in the training squad for the first time since damaging a medial knee ligament against Ireland on February 2 and is expected to return for the Italy showdown as one of only three locks named in the 31.
Also present is Jonathan Joseph, the Bath centre who has been absent from the Test arena since last year’s Six Nations because of ankle surgery.
Joseph has been playing for Bath since January and travelled to Portugal with England for their pre-tournament training camp, but has so far been overlooked by Jones.
Hopes that Chris Ashton might recover from his calf strain in time for face Italy have been dashed with his omission from the training squad.
– Press Association
England duo to be given chance to prove fitness for Italy clash
Robbie Henshaw ruled out and Sean Cronin dropped from 37-man squad for France clash
Maro Itoje is a doubt to face Italy with a knee injury
Warren Gatland keeps Wales changes to a minimum for Scotland clash