Have to say, the result aside and some of the individual performances aside, it was great to see Jonny Wilkinson back in an England shirt and back performing well in an England shirt.
To see him charging around Twickenham putting in big hits at every opportunity after what he’s gone through over the last well 6 years really is a joy to watch. Yeah I know he’s been back here and there since that glorious night in Sydney but it feels like this different. Should we be thanking the French 😯
And when you look at the football squad Fabio released on Sunday night, you think to yourself where are the Wilkos, can’t we have 11 players who are willing to stand up like Jonny and represent their country with three lions on their chest, when they head for South Africa next summer.
As Wilkinson puts his shoulder into another tackle against someone far larger than himself you think back to a previous meeting against the football side’s next opponents, 2002 World Cup in Japan, would Jonny have chickened out of that challenge as Beckham did that led to Brazil’s equaliser? No.
Would Jonny turn his back and ponce out of blocking every shot on England’s goal the way Rio Ferdinand does every time there’s a chance he might get hit with a ball? No.
And when Ashely Cole hinders so many forward movements because he is scared stiff of even trying to kick the ball with his “wrong foot”, because he at least knows he is inept with his right peg. You think of that moment in Sydney when the ball flew back from Dawson, it was on the “wrong” side, Jonny would have to use his right foot to take the drop and win the World Cup. Did he have a moment of blind panic, stutter around looking for any other option than using the foot that wasn’t his left, getting his body in sch a position he could do only one thing and kick it backwards with his left…
…did he buggery, he didn’t give it a second thought and popped that ball over with ease with his “wrong” foot.
The England football team need to have the initialism WWJD instilled into their thinking – What would Jonny do?
They could also take a long hard look at another returning World Cup winner on Saturday, how many of those under Fabio would hand back half a million quid compensation so they could come back and play the game the way Steve Thompson did? AH but Beckham’s going to turn out for Milan to make sure he’s fit for the World Cup. Yes for his own personal glory and how much will he be paid for this sacrifice.