England captain Martin Corry is ready to fight for his place during this season's Six Nations Championship.
Corry said the surprise challenge to his place was 'keeping him on his toes'.
Corry has an unexpected challenger for the No 8 jersey in Lawrence Dallaglio, who is back on the international beat some 17 months after retiring from Test rugby.
Corry, whose England leadership reign has produced five wins from six starts, was replaced by Dallaglio after 65 minutes of last Saturday's comprehensive victory over Wales at Twickenham.
Head coach Andy Robin-son's decision has been criticised by Corry's Leicester and former England colleague Graham Rowntree who also hit out at the media bandwagon accompanying Dallaglio's England return.
Corry, though, is content to take everything in his stride as England prepare for Saturday's appointment with Italy in Rome.
He said: "I am completely comfortable with what is happening within the England camp. I have no issues.
"We are in a position, in my position and throughout the whole side, we are developing a squad where there is a lot of competition on the starting XV, which is exactly how it should be.
"Personally, I feel that is how to bring the best out of me, to put me under pressure and make me fight for my position.
"It is what everyone needs, so I have no issue about it - it is keeping me on my toes.
"Everyone is desperate to play for England but what we've got with Lawrence is someone who is not only a great player, but he has also achieved a huge amount in the game.
"His profile is going to warrant interest and speculation but speculation is speculation and we have got to treat it as that. What is written should have little bearing on what actually happens."
Rowntree, though, believes the media circus "almost forced" Dallaglio back into the England squad.
He said: "There are not many players in international sport who could talk themselves back into the national squad like Lawrence.
"I love him to bits, and he is a great player, but the whole scenario with the press, people talking about him every day, almost forced him into the squad. And, for me, that was disappointing.
"For Andy Robinson to take Martin off and bring on Lawrence against Wales, I thought was really disappointing. He could have put Lawrence on at six for Joe Worsley - he played there for his club the week before."
But Rowntree has backed Corry not to be distracted by Dallaglio's presence as England look to build Six Nations Championship momentum by reeling off a fourth successive tournament victory in Rome.
Rowntree said: "Going forward, if Cozza keeps his head down and does as good a job as he has been doing, he will never worry.
"He is exceptionally, mentally strong, and he won't be worried about Lawrence being on his shoulder all the time. He has to get on with his job and lead his team."
Dallaglio will again be on the bench this weekend when England look to underline their title credentials, but Corry has warned against taking too much notice of previous encounters at Stadio Flaminio.
He said: "It is important we don't look too much at the history of these games because Italy are a vastlyimproved side. What has happened in the past shouldn't bear too much resemblance to what is going to happen this Saturday. We feel we have made great strides from last season and I think the Italians will be feeling exactly the same way."
Italy were harshly dealt with during their opening Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin last Saturday, being on the receiving end of some controversial decisions, and Corry added: "They are a quality side on the back of a defeat.
"They will have walked away from last weekend thinking they should have won the game. Now, and the great thing about rugby, is you can't wait until next week to put it right and I am sure that is what they will be thinking.
"We know how good this Italian side is. We have stud-ied the tape of last weekend's game very closely and if we were under any illusions before the game we are certainly not now.
"The first weekend of the tournament showed that this is a really tight Six Nations.
"Any side can beat any side on the day, that was shown on the first weekend, and it will be shown throughout the tournament."