Martin Corry has earmarked Northampton's Tom Wood as one of three players who could potentially succeed Lewis Moody as England captain.
Former England skipper Corry said Wood, fellow flanker Tom Croft and fly-half Toby Flood were the men most likely.
"You pick the team and then you pick the captain," Corry told BBC Sport.
"Wood has been in the squad, equipped himself exceptionally well and proven he is no doubt Test match standard. I see very little risk there."
Moody retired from internationals following England's dismal World Cup campaign, after which his leadership was criticised in "confidential" reports that were leaked to the media.
With Nick Easter's international future up in the air and James Haskell skipping next year's Six Nations to play club rugby in New Zealand, there are back-row spots up for grabs.
While Wood started only one game for Martin Johnson's England in New Zealand, his form for Saints so far this season has been outstanding, despite being sent off on Saturday against Leicester.
However, Corry advised the Rugby Football Union to wait until it has appointed a permanent manager before naming a new England skipper.
Johnson resigned last month and the RFU says it will not appoint a successor until after the Six Nations.
Scrum coach Graham Rowntree and England Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster are being tipped as caretaker managers, although the RFU said the interim coach could stay on if he impresses in the role.
"We are in a holding position," said former Leicester back-row Corry. "It's got to be a manager's role to appoint a long-term captain and you could even appoint a captain game-by-game [for the Six Nations].
"By [the end of the Six Nations], Tom Wood might have established himself in the side and [Harlequins captain] Chris Robshaw might have been tried.
"As it is, Robshaw is an unknown quantity - can he make the step up? The media are latching onto him as a name but we've got to find out if he's Test match quality."
Corry also called for the inclusion of Saracens's Owen Farrell at inside centre - and said that only minor tweaks were needed to get England's back-line firing.
"I'd like to see Farrell given a shot," said Corry of the 20-year-old son of cross-code international Andy.
"The role of inside centre has become increasingly important. You've got to be able to carry the ball as a modern 12 and there are very few people who offer playmaking ability with ball-carrying ability.
"That's why Riki Flutey was such a good fit, but he's had his injury problems and Farrell can fulfil that role as well, while Flood works best when he's got an extra playmaker outside him."