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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 18:27 GMT
Wilkinson confident over comeback
Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson's career has been blighted by a series of injuries
Jonny Wilkinson believes he will return to Test rugby a more complete player after his three-year injury nightmare.

The fly-half, 27, has not played for England since the 2003 World Cup final but will face Scotland on Saturday.

"I'm not one to doubt myself. I'm not a brash individual but I'd not be here if I didn't believe I was ready," he said.

"I've added a few more skills to my bow. With age I have gained a greater level of composure and I see things and play the game more simply."

Wilkinson's selection for the Six Nations clash at Twickenham comes after just 40 minutes of action following 12 weeks out with a kidney injury.

Jonny is a much better player now than in the World Cup final in 2003

England coach Brian Ashton
It is the latest in a long line of problems that have dogged his career since kicking the winning drop-goal for England against Australia in 2003.

But Wilkinson, who admitted he thought he would be lining up for the England Saxons (A) team, said: "There was surprise but if I didn't believe I could do it there would be more surprise.

"I am quiet and capable and I believe in myself. There is no difference in my approach mentally and physically from 2003 but I'm a different player."

606 DEBATE: What are your views on Wilkinson's return?

Wilkinson impressed in England training last week and returned to action for Newcastle as a substitute against Leicester on Saturday.

And head coach Brian Ashton revealed the fly-half showed little hesitation when he floated the idea of him starting against Scotland.

"I spoke to Jonny on Sunday and told him my thoughts on him starting but told him he'd probably need time to think about it," Ashton said.

"He came back and said it had taken him a half a second - but the key thing is that he made the decision that he was ready to play international rugby again.

"I've been his mentor this season. I've seen him play four games and every game he has played better than the last.

"He is a much better player now than in the World Cup final in 2003. His game understanding and his intelligence is at a higher level.

"It is a logical selection for where English rugby is at the moment."


SEE ALSO
Wilkinson is yet to peak - Andrew
30 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union
England pick Wilkinson & Farrell
29 Jan 07 |  English
Fit Wilkinson should play - Catt
27 Jan 07 |  English
Wilkinson set to miss Scots clash
04 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union
Josh Lewsey Q&A
01 Feb 07 |  English


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