Jonny Wilkinson: ‘It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded’ | Andy Bull

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Jonny Wilkinson, England’s World Cup winning fly-half, speaks about his battle with mental illness and why no amount of trophies can ease the pain of depression

It is October 1999, and a 20-year-old Jonny Wilkinson is sitting on the edge of a bed in Clive Woodward’s hotel room in Paris. Woodward has just told Wilkinson that he is dropping him to the bench for England’s World Cup quarter-final against South Africa at the Stade de France that weekend. Woodward has chosen instead to play Paul Grayson, who is eight years older and has a dozen more caps. “I remember it so well,” Wilkinson says now. “I looked at Clive and I said: ‘Mate, I think it is a great idea, I think he is a brilliant player and the team will go brilliantly with him. I’m young. My time will come.’”

Wilkinson wonders what happened to that 20-year-old, and what he would have thought of the player he grew into. “I look back now, and I can’t believe the maturity I had then, how free I was, compared to the player I became, so wrapped up in my own self-importance and reputation.”

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Written by Andy Bull
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/sep/08/jonny-wilkinson-mental-iilness-rugby-union under the title “Jonny Wilkinson: ‘It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded’ | Andy Bull”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.