Darren Gough thinks England's pace-bowling stocks are as strong as they have been since 2005, and has backed Chris Woakes to replace James Anderson as their "figurehead" in the next 18 months.

England's 30-man training group arrived at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday afternoon ahead of next month's Test series against West Indies. There are 18 seamers within the group, including a handful of out-and-out quicks who can regularly hit speeds of 90mph in Jofra Archer, Jamie Overton, Olly Stone and Mark Wood.

And Gough, who worked with the touring squad as a bowling consultant during last winter's series in New Zealand, thinks that the current crop is as strong as England have had since the 2005 Ashes.

"They've got top quality there from that bowling attack," Gough told ESPNcricinfo, "whether it be from Anderson and [Stuart] Broad - who are getting on now, let's be honest, but they're still quality - [Ben] Stokes is working on his batting more now, but can still do a job.

"You've got pace now too, where you can alternate Wood, Archer, Stone and [Saqib] Mahmood. You've got Woakes, who possibly in the next year-and-a-half will replace Anderson as the figurehead at the top. The bowling attack is tidy - tidy indeed. All the tools are there for this England team."

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Gough spent two weeks working with England's Test squad ahead of their series in New Zealand last year, and was particularly impressed by Woakes' attitude and desire to improve in overseas conditions.

Woakes' record away from home has come under scrutiny throughout his Test career - he averages 51.68 overseas compared to 23.45 in England - but Gough said he had seen signs of improvement that could help him become the leader of the attack over the next couple of years.

"I think Woakes is a top-class performer," he said. "I sat him down in New Zealand and I said to him: 'Do you want to be known as a bowler that's good in England? Or do you want to be in the team all year round? And how much do you want it?'

"And he wants it, he really does. I was impressed. In New Zealand and in South Africa, he bowled quicker. He can afford to bowl at 90% in England on most pitches, because they'll always do a bit and every bowler will be in the game.

"But when they go abroad, they try and do the same thing and they wonder why they're not in the game. For Woakes, he can bowl quickly. I'd like to think it's clicked now with him. This summer, now he's in England, he'll be able to step off the pedal and rest the body."

Gough, a skilled exponent of reverse swing in his own playing days, said that he expects the ICC's saliva ban will bring spinners into England's Tests this summer, and force seamers to use other skills to what they are used to in home conditions.

"Teams will be more reluctant to go in with out-and-out pace attacks," he said. "They'll look to play a spinner, because good ones will play a part. [England] have got options in spin now too: they've got Moeen Ali - he's not a world-class spinner, but he's a performer and he bowls oppositions out. You've got Jack Leach as the left-arm option, you've got Dom Bess, the youngster.

"It's as good as they've had since 2005. It's got everything. They've got a great chance of winning in Australia [in 2021-22], they really have."

England's hopes for the series against West Indies were further boosted on Tuesday by Archer declaring himself fully fit following his elbow injury. Archer had scans on his right elbow last week which confirmed the injury was fully healed, and wrote in his Daily Mail column that he could play all three Tests in the series if required.

"Bowling has been a gradual progression but despite the fact that I was resting my elbow injury when we went into lockdown in March, I have followed similar loads to the other England Test bowlers," he wrote. "So far everything feels like clockwork. Crunch in, crunch out, my body feels fresh, and there are no issues with my right elbow whatsoever, touch wood.

"Despite the fact that the three matches of this series are played in such a short space of time, I actually think I could play all three. But obviously everyone will be a bit cautious in terms of workload, thinking about the body and what lies ahead."