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  Jonny Wilkinson: full interview
Updated 28 April 2003, 18.26
Johnny Wilkinson
England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson is a world-class player - he's scored more points than any other England player, ever!

He took some time out from preparations for the Rugby World Cup to chat to Newsround's Lizzie Greenwood.

When did you first start playing rugby?
I started when I was four years old. I grew up with a rugby ball rather than a football. My brother was into rugby and we had a very sporty family. So it was just what I knew from a young age and then I decided I liked it.

But you did play some football didn't you?
I did. I played footy for about one year - it was mainly a social thing. I played rugby mainly but I played footy one or twice a week.

Why did you choose rugby over football?
Johnny Wilkinson
When you get that whole team togetherness coming through against all the pressure of winning a big game there's no better feeling than having everyone there to share it with.

That to me has always been the most prominent thing in rugby because there are quite hard-hitting tackles, you learn how to make friends you get to know very closely.

I've always liked that about rugby, very fast game, full of different skills - there's passing, kicking, tackling, scrums, lineouts for the forwards. I'm never bored.

Was it always your dream to play for England?
Yes it was. When I was 10 or 11, I thought 'That's what I want to do!' . I wrote it down on a bit of paper, kept referring back to it and making sure I did as much as I could to keep to that path.

You're one of the youngest people to play for England for a long time. What does that feel like?
Just wanted to get through it, not make any mistakes. I feel very proud and excited.

What's the key to your motivation?
Whenever I play I make sure I represent myself to the best of my ability.

I work hard trying to get fitter, faster, more powerful, increase my ability to be more agile, beat people. I can't stand to rest and watch others overtake me, if I've got time I'll try and use it positively.

Is practise the key to your success?
It is, but I've had a lot of help, great coaches. I've been mentally guided very well. I don't feel confident to perform if I haven't prepared properly. Stay for two hours in rain or shine.

What would you say to a Newsround viewer who thinks they want to be Jonny Wilkinson?
I think it's a case of finding something you love doing and being ambitious to achieve something in your chosen profession and giving it everything you've got.

What were you like when you were 10 years old?
Tiny! I was a bit of trouble because I was never satisfied, always felt too competitive whether it was inside the house or outside. I was outrageously competitive, but when I wasn't I was quiet.

What do you think makes you such a great player?
I think I share a trait with everyone in the England squad - a willingness to not accept defeat, to not accept under-performing, and to not accept poor attitude.

It's just the decision to take the opportunity you've got, to make the most of it.

What are you like after you've lost?
I'm pretty miserable, I think about how I've played, what I did right, what I did wrong, why I did certain things and how I wished I'd done other things. I take my time, I'm very quiet and I go away and think about it.

How do you deal with all that pressure?
I live with my brother, who plays rugby as well and we get on brilliantly, no one knows me better. He's also very good at understanding when I want to talk about rugby or if I've got a problem I need to talk about and he knows if I'd rather not talk about anything.

What would you hadn't been a professional rugby player?
I'm a big animal fan, I get on very well with animals. People who work with animals like vets or the RSPCA and helping animals that sort of thing appeals to me in a way, when I was younger certainly.

But I think I was always such a sporty person I figured if I wasn't a professional rugby player I would have just tried hard at another sport - just to make sure I got to play sport for a living.

How much is practise - how much talent?
I think it is 50-50. I've seen loads of people who are absolutely fantastic at kicking or passing.

But the people you remember are the ones who do it with 80,000 people watching, when it's the last minute of the game and it needs to go right.

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