Jonny Wilkinson eyes coaching role with England after announcing retirement

Jonny Wilkinson has revealed he would be interested in a coaching role with England rugby after announcing his retirement from the game.

Wilkinson¬†announced he will retire after completing the final two matches of Toulon’s season – the Heineken Cup and Top 14 finals – and that he would relish a place in¬†Stuart Lancaster’s England backroom staff.

A tracksuit role beckons for the 34-year-old, most probably at Toulon, where is revered, and bookmakers have issued odds of 10-1 that he one day becomes head coach of England.

“I see so much potential around in so many players. I see so many making such huge sacrifices for their teams and really testing themselves,” said Wilkinson.

“If I can help make a difference – even if it’s only a small percentage – then it all comes around. If you can give people the evidence that they deserve to be confident then it can add to performance.

“I would love to be able to do that. With England? Of course, that would be amazing. But at the same time, if I can work with just one person and have a positive effect, that’s good enough to begin with.

“It’s a real desire of mine, having played with so many people who have helped me in my career – guys like Matt Catt and Matt Giteau at Toulon.

“I just want to help others get better because I know what a difference it makes to a team. To carry on a team ethic from a coaching perspective would be great.”

England’s coaching line-up will remain unchanged until at least after the 2015 World Cup, but Lancaster believes Wilkinson’s experience would make him a valuable backroom addition at some point.

When asked about Wilkinson performing a mentoring role, Lancaster said: “I wouldn’t rule it out long term, whether it was working with age-grade teams or certain individuals.

“When you’ve got someone of his calibre and experience, with such a clear influence on so many people, I would certainly want him to feel part of the England team.

“I’m not sure what his desire is to do post-rugby, but I’d certainly want him to feel part of the England team.

“I’m sure in the right place, at the right time, we’ll invite him into camp and he will be more than welcome to pass on some of that experience and knowledge to the current coaching team we’ve got – some of whom he knows pretty well anyway – or directly to senior players or age-grade players as well.

“It would be incredible what he could offer young and senior players. The decision will remain with him in the first instance, but I would like to make him feel welcome in the broad sense.”