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  Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 14:34 GMT
Pleasure amid the pain
In his latest exclusive column for BBC Sport Online, England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson reveals how he is coping with the frustration of life on the sidelines.

Jonny Wilkinson directs operations during an England training session
It will be a couple of weeks before Wilkinson is back in full training
Being injured is the bane of any profesional sportsman, and I think this shoulder injury would have hit me harder a couple of years ago.

But it has come at the end of quite a serious period of autumn internationals and a difficult start to the season.

With a few more years' experience I am almost ready for the break now.

I have had to accept that I can't do any proper training and understand that I can do some other things which will help me become mentally fitter and healthier.

Whether that means seeing some old mates that I don't get to see too often, it is a good opportunity to refresh myself for the rest of a long season.


It is so important I don't jump the gun and try to do too much, too early

I am trying to be positive about it, whereas a couple of years ago I would have been champing at the bit.

Having said that, I have been working really hard. I do enjoy getting the chance to have a blast and it is like a mini pre-season at the moment.

I am getting really fit again and trying to use the time profitably, otherwise I will go mad.

After getting the initial prognosis and finding out what the damage is, it is a case of having some really good treatment and getting stuck into mending it.

I have been doing a lot of bike work, as unfortunately my shoulder jars if I do any running.

Because I am getting back into it, I have been feeling pretty sick for a lot of the time.

I have been working very, very hard, and I have felt a bit dodgy, which is great.

Jonny Wilkinson in action for newcastle
The Falcons will have to do without Jonny until the new year

That is exactly what I want, because it means I am getting back to new levels of fitness, so I am pleased about that.

After pre-season you are in great shape, but as you pick up knocks each weekend you can't do as much because you also have to conserve energy for the next game.

You tend to do some weights and aerobic stuff but you can't go full-out and gradually you lose a bit of fitness.

So this is like starting over again. I have still got a bit to go but it is good that I am able to push myself to the limit.

I have never been in this situation before so it is difficult to say how long it will be before I am back in full training, but it probably won't be for another week or two.

I have to bide my time, because it is so important I don't jump the gun and try to do too much, too early.

Hard graft

Otherwise, what will be four weeks of frustration could turn into eight or 10 weeks.

Newcastle are playing away in Treviso in Italy this weekend so it is a good opportunity for me to go somewhere away from the game and have a bit of a break.

There is a bit of pressure on the boys at the moment, and the bottom of the league is not an ideal place to be .

I think it is a confidence thing and we need to keep believing in what we are doing and up the performance level.

Everyone is digging in and it will take a bit of hard graft, but I am sure things will change pretty quickly.

See also:

05 Dec 02 | International
02 Dec 02 | International
28 Nov 02 | International
26 Nov 02 | International
26 Nov 02 | International
Links to more Jonny Wilkinson stories are at the foot of the page.


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