England captain Michael Vaughan warned fans against expecting too much from Andrew Flintoff after the all-rounder was recalled in a 12-man squad for the second Test against South Africa at Headingley, starting Friday.
The fast bowler hasn't played Test cricket for 18 months, since captaining England to Ashes defeat against Australia at Sydney in January 2007, because of ankle and side injuries.
But he was added to the team that drew the first of this four-Test series at Lord's here Monday after proving his fitness with Lancashire.
England have fielded the same side for a world record six straight Tests and Vaughan, who plays at Headingley for Yorkshire, was giving little away as to how room might be found for Flintoff although the out-of-form Paul Collingwood would appear to be the leading candidate to be dropped.
Vaughan's men badly missed Flintoff's extra pace and movement with the ball when, after making South Africa follow-on, they only took three more wickets.
But the England captain insisted the decision to bring back Flintoff had been a long time in the planning and wasn't a knee-jerk reaction.
"I always had it in the back of my mind to get 'Freddie' back into the team. He just needed another game to prove to himself," said Vaughan.
"He's got through a good game against Hampshire (where Flintoff took three wickets and scored 39 not out in the second innings of a match Lancashire won by six wickets Monday). He's ready to come back."
However, a cautious Vaughan added: "I think we are building him up a bit too much, I think it's a bit unfair on him. He's had 18 months out of the game, he's come back for Lancashire and done reasonably well.
"He's not a wizard, he's not going to come and sprinkle dust, he's just going to come and perform how he can.
"But he does have that bit of X-factor about him. You know when you give him the ball he can create something and in the past when he's gone out to bat, he's made things happen. He also has the ability to take wonderful catches.
"His stature in the dressing-room is also important and I'm sure opposition teams around the world would rather play England without Freddie Flintoff than with him."
South Africa's Neil McKenzie, whose painstaking 138 did much to secure the Proteas a draw at Lord's, was unsurprised by Flintoff's return to a squad from which reserve fast bowler Chris Tremlett was dropped.
"His name is always being thrown around, he's a serious player. We don't just prepare for one guy but he's a key figure in the England set-up and we will give him the respect he deserves."
Vaughan was coy over whether Flintoff would feature as a member of a four-man or five-man attack in Leeds. "That's the question I am going to get asked all week.
"Headingley is a funny ground, because you have to get the conditions right and you have to read them well and the pitch well. We'll have to see the wicket and see who are the best bowlers for that pitch."
Collingwood, who has struggled for runs, was on the receiving end of an unfortunate decision when he was out cheaply during England's lone innings at Lord's after it seemed he'd been caught off the pad.
"Paul is like everyone else. He's very calm outwardly but, and I've been in this position before, inwardly it hurts when you are not getting runs," Vaughan said. "When you get a decision like he did in this game, you probably think 'is everything against me?'.
"But he's a fighter, he always has been. He could play at Headingley and get a hundred, that's the kind of guy he is."
England 2nd Test squad:
Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Michael Vaughan (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose (wkt), Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Andrew Flintoff