Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson unveils the ticket design for the opening match of the 2015 World Cup between England and Fiji at TwickenhamGetty Images

Former England captain Martin Johnson says he agrees with the recent decisions taken by Stuart Lancaster in the build-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

Lancaster, who succeeded Johnson as head coach initially on an interim basis before being handed the job full-time three years ago, named a preliminary training squad for the tournament in May. He has since lost two players from that 50-man party with Dylan Hartley and David Strettle replaced by Jamie George and Semesa Rokoduguni prior to a high-altitude training camp in Denver, Colorado.

First-choice hooker Hartley was dropped after being handed a four-week suspension for his latest episode of ill-discipline during Northampton's Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat to Saracens, while Strettle withdrew citing a desire to settle down with new club Clermont as soon as possible.

England's pre-tournament plans were also disrupted by the sudden unavailability of a potentially key asset in Manu Tuilagi.

The oft-injured Leicester centre will not be considered for international duty by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) until at least January 2016 after admitting three charges of assault and one of criminal damage at Leicester Magistrates' Court just days before Lancaster's selection was announced.

Danny Cipriani has also travelled to the US, however his involvement is likely to hinge on the outcome of an ongoing investigation into his arrest on suspicion of drink driving earlier this month.

Johnson was in charge of England during a 2011 World Cup campaign blighted by off-field controversy, but evidently does not believe that disciplinary issues are unavoidable.

"I don't think it's inevitable," he said. "We had it in 2011, we've had it before you've just not got to put yourself in that position as a player. It's not a surprise any more, is it? You've just got to not put yourself in that position."

Like several of England's current crop, Tuilagi made his international bow during Johnson's tenure as coach.

When asked what the player himself can do to ensure that the recent controversy does not haunt the rest of his career, Johnson said: "That's up to Manu. He's lost the opportunity at a World Cup. You only get, if you're very lucky, you get three so who knows what the future will bring for him. It's done now. If he didn't know beforehand, he knows now.

"Yes and no," he added over whether he is still surprised that such episodes are still occurring.

"They're still young guys and you get yourselves in situations and a lot of the time you think 'well it won't happen to me again'. I think everyone's been in a situation where it could have gone somewhere and are maybe lucky it didn't but there's probably less room to manoeuvre for them now, with the way the world is."

While Strettle was perhaps unlikely to make Lancaster's final squad, many will speculate that the respective absences of Hartley and Tuilagi could harm England's attempts to secure their second World Cup triumph.

Johnson, however, says that players are accustomed to the changing nature of sports teams and backed Lancaster's decisions.

"As I said, if you've not learned your lesson by now then when will you? So I agree with Stu's calls and you get on with it. I think for the players, they're used to that. They're used to people being there and then not being there through injury. That just happens all the time.

"Once you're not there, people move on very quick and get on with it. The guys will be in camp now, they'll just be cracking on and if you're not there for whatever reason, you're not there."

Having skippered England to one of their greatest-ever sporting successes, Johnson knows only too well the pressure that a World Cup can bring.

Asked if he had any advice to bestow upon current captain Chris Robshaw, he said: "It's all just bigger, isn't it? The demands are bigger, the spotlight is bigger. Just try and enjoy it for what it is. Find your enjoyment where it is. A World Cup is not seven weeks of laughing and joking. There are hard times, there's pressure. Things are going to happen, things will get thrown at you that you don't expect.

"Stuff will come that will test you. It's a long, long build-up. They're in camp now, they'll have been talking about a World Cup for years. When you get there, you actually just want to get to the tournament and get on with it.

"It's a long tournament. If you get to the end it's what, six weeks? There are long periods of waiting with short periods of actual relevant action and a lot of talking in between. So enjoy it for what it is, find the enjoyment where you can.

"And what's the worst that's going to happen? We lose and we get knocked out. You all walk away from it. I think in big games, some people can go either way. They either freeze a little bit and it gets unplayable or you try and play too much. Just go and do what you do.

"England are generally a tough team to beat. They've been reasonably consistent. Just go out and do what you do and do it that little better and you'll be in there."

It has been almost four years now since Johnson resigned his post as England coach and while he admits he has received offers during that period, he does not know when he will return to the sport.

"Who knows. I've had a few offers, but nothing that really got me excited. I never really planned much, so who knows. I'm not burning to go and do it."

Many eyebrows were raised in May when Clive Woodward's name was said to have featured on an eight-man French Rugby Federation shortlist to succeed Philippe Saint-Andre.

Woodward did not get the job, but could Johnson ever consider taking charge of one of England's historic rivals?

"I've never thought about it really," he said. "I've played for Leicester and England, so playing against them would always seem a bit strange. But who knows."