James Haskell
Haskell says England are aware they must continue the standard they set against Wales (Getty)

England flanker James Haskell believes the culture of fear created by coach Stuart Lancaster regarding places in his World Cup squad means the match with Six Nations minnows Italy will be taken with the upmost seriousness next week.

The 21-16 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium sees England head into their opening match at Twickenham in 2015 as overwhelming favourites for the visit of the Azzuri, who were comfortably beaten by holders Ireland on the opening weekend.

Haskell was among a number of players deputising amid England's extensive injury list, but delivered the finest performance of his international career in Cardiff as a number of supposed second string players staked their claim for World Cup selection.

The Wasps back-row forward says the strength in depth available to Lancaster means every player is concerned a poor performance will lead to their omission.

"I think everyone is aware that to be involved with England you have to be at the top of your game, there are no names first on the teamsheet," he said.

"Everyone talks about it, the World Cup and things will consistently changes. Who knew coming into the Six Nations that we'd have so many guys carrying injuries, boys have stepped up.

"It's very, very difficult in there and if you have one off game you're out. Stuart talks about passion for the shirt and you have to do justice every time you play and you are only a custodian and we knew we have to be on our metal the whole time."

The 29-year-old added: "We know we have a long journey. You always be at your best when you're going to Twickenham, when you're facing Italy.

"There is so much competition within this side. The mark of a good side is being tough on yourselves in victory. Go away, big week and it starts again next Saturday. If you've got any ambitions to be a world class side and improve. To get the win like we did is special."

Haskell benefited from injury to Tom Wood to slot in alongside Billy Vunipola and captain Chris Robshaw and after failing to take his opportunity with both hands in the autumn wins over Samoa and Australia, the Windsor-born player fully understands the task at hand.

"I was disappointed against Samoa and I just tried too hard," he admitted. "I tried to be efficient, work on trying to make the right decisions. When you're playing with the boys we've got and the game plan I felt I was able to do that."

On being considered the man-of-the-match by Lancaster and Wales coach Warren Gatland, he added: "That is very kind of them both to say. We're on a long journey here, with the Six Nations. For some of us it was about banishing demons.

"When we came here in 2013 we got soundly beaten. Whenever we come here Wales are fierce opposition with a very difficult crowd. By the end of it I thought the stadium was full of English fans which was a nice feeling. Credit to Wales they were physical, they'll be some sore bodies in the week but look it's a great place to come and win."