Head coach Eddie Jones described Danny Cipriani as England’s “third choice” fly-half after leaving him out of England’s squad for the autumn Test series.
Cipriani has been overlooked despite a strong start to the season with Gloucester which saw him named Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for September.
Cipriani, who was fined over an incident at a Jersey nightclub in August, started England’s most recent game against South Africa in June and set-up a pivotal try for Jonny May.
But he misses out despite being watched four times by Jones this season.
“We have got two good 10s (Owen Farrell and George Ford),” said Jones.
“It is tough on Danny, but he is third choice at the moment.”
Jones has made Dylan Hartley and Farrell co-captains for the Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia because he sees them a great leadership combination.
Hartley must share the leadership with Farrell for the first time during Jones’ reign.
But the Australian insists it is an obvious move for him to make ahead of autumn series.
“It’s almost become a no-brainer,” Jones told Sky Sports.
“The combination of those two together is just a great fit.
“Whatever team I’ve coached that has had success you’ve always had two at the top.
“Traditionally it has been captain and vice-captain but I see the role as being co-captains on the field. Dylan will handle some things, Owen will handle others – the things which come naturally to them both.”
Jones had to contend with injuries and suspensions when naming his 36-man squad which contains eight uncapped players.
“The last 12 months have been pretty challenging,” said Jones. “Since the Lions tour we’ve had a number of players missing so we’re quite good at this.”