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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 17:27 GMT
Wilkinson ready for action
Jonny Wilkinson is mobbed by photographers at Heathrow
England hero Jonny Wilkinson is mobbed by photographers and television crews at Heathrow Airport
England's World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson is keen to play for Newcastle against Wasps on Saturday.

Wilkinson arrived back from Australia with the rest of the England squad in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

And, despite admitting he was "overawed and humbled" by the reception at Heathrow Airport, the fly-half is keen to get back into action for his club.

"I'm available for selection," he said on his return to the north east.

"I've got lots of work to get on with and I want to do that."

And of being given the freedom of Newcastle, Wilkinson said: "I'm massively honoured.

"I've been here a while now and adopted the place as a home.

I'm after a bit of peace and quiet and I'm keen to get back home
Jonny Wilkinson
"Honours like that you can't describe, you just try and pay them back.

"The win at the weekend only makes you more excited about being here and the prospect of getting back on that pitch."

Around 7,000 people packed into Terminal Four at 0430 GMT to welcome home the World Cup winners.

And Wilkinson, who kicked the winning drop goal in the final, admitted: "I'm overawed by the support.

"Coming into the airport was something else and seeing that support was hugely humbling and massively uplifting."

He added: "The guys appreciate that more than they can put into words."

Wilkinson also insisted he wanted to return to his normal life as quickly as possible.

"I'm keen to get on with life now I'm back but I'm keen not to forget, not to lose memories like that," said the fly-half.

"Above all I am desperately keen to maintain the lifestyle I have which allows me to prepare for what I love doing.

"I will desperately try not to let anything get in the way of that.

"I want to continue being myself and I can't play rugby any other way than I do now.

"A lot of the guys will be in the same boat and will want to go about things in the same professional way.

"Funnily enough, I'm after a bit of peace and quiet and I'm keen to get back home."

Links to more England stories


England's Jonny Wilkinson
"I'm looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet"

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