Acting England head coach Stuart Lancaster has first shot at landing the role on a permanent basis, but he may have missed a trick in leaving Harlequins' Nick Easter out in the cold.

Lancaster faces a tricky balancing act between fielding a team of potential for the opening Six Nations clash against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4 and picking a side that can win the championship.

The former Leeds Carnegie chief has until March 17 - the date of England's final Six Nations match against Ireland - to argue his case to land the job on a permanent basis, although the closing date for applications for the post is January 31.

But he again overlooked Easter this week when prefering to call up Gloucester's Luke Narraway to the senior squad to replace injured flanker Tom Wood.

The 33-year-old remains the most experienced specialist England-qualified number eight in the country and Quins legend Will Greenwood would have called on Easter's services.

"I would have picked him. I still think he is the best English qualified number eight in the country," he said before the Lancaster unveiled his elite player squad for the Six Nations.

"There is an opportunity Stuart never expected to get and he will make the most of it. He's made all the right moves so far, but now he will be judged on that Six Nations.

"To give himself a realistic chance he has one of the hardest balancing acts I know. Everyone wants to see all the kids, but to give himself a chance of keeping the job he needs to win games.

"The question is can he win games with the kids? That is his challenge."