Leicester boss Richard Cockerill was left scratching his head following the omission of hooker Tom Youngs from England's Six Nations plans.
Cockerill had labelled Youngs as the best hooker in the country and a possible England captain earlier this season after his run of good form.
However new England boss Eddie Jones has selected Dylan Hartley, Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie ahead of the British and Irish Lions number two.
Speaking to the Leicester Mercury, Cockerill stood by his man by praising his form and leadership for the Tigers so far this season.
He said: "I am surprised and disappointed that Tom has been left out of the squad.
"He has been playing exceptionally well for us this season and has led the team well as captain too.
"He is a quality player and he will keep working as hard as he can.
"I am sure that he will work himself back in the squad."