Former centre Youngs, 25, has excelled for the Tigers ever since he swapped the midfield for the middle of the front row under the advice of former Leicester coach Heyneke Meyer.
A string of impressive performances last term, helping the Tigers to the Premiership final after a torrid start to the season, saw Stuart Lancaster take him on England’s tour to South Africa.
Youngs is still awaiting his first cap however, having only featured in midweek matches on the tour and he finds himself in the England Saxons squad for the autumn internationals with Dylan Hartley and Rob Webber preferred.
But Croft, who has 36 England caps to his name but is currently recovering from a neck injury, believes Youngs could hold his own if he is called upon during the Tests against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand – and should feature in next year’s Six Nations.
“Tom moved from centre to hooker when Heyneke Meyer was in charge a couple of years ago and he has really grown,” said Croft.
“His ability around the park is second to none in terms of hookers in the Premiership in my opinion.”
Youngs’ history as a centre makes him one of the best running hookers in the country but in recent times his lineout throwing has been called into question.
Youngs has admitted he has been eating, sleeping and breathing throwing in a bid to get better – and Croft believes the improvements are huge, citing his trip to South Africa as a key reason why.
“The one thing that was holding him back last season was his throwing but I think that has really come on,” added Croft.
“His involvement in the summer tour to South Africa helped him come on leaps and bounds and the way he has started this season then he will be knocking on England’s door if not in the autumn then definitely for the Six Nations.”
© Sportsbeat 2012
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