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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 17:27 GMT
Wilkinson ready for return
England's World Cup-winning hero Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson could be playing for Newcaslte on Saturday
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."

Wilkinson has been given the freedom of Newcastle following his World Cup exploits.

Coming into the airport was something else and seeing that support was hugely humbling and massively uplifting
Jonny Wilkinson
And he revealed: "I'm massively honoured. I've been here a while now and adopted the place as a home.

"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."

Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman and Andy Gomarsall have also been given the freedom of the city by civic leaders in Gloucester.

The city's mayor, Phil McLellan, said: "We looked at a number of options but finally decided that only our highest award would be good enough."

Around 7,000 people turned out at Terminal Four at 0430 GMT to welcome home the world champions

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."

Links to more England stories


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

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