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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jonny Wilkinson's mentor Steve Black says former England fly-half will succeed as coach

Wilkinson, 32, announced his international retirement on Monday and will now focus on his future with Toulon, a club he moved to in 2009 from Newcastle.

Black, a former Tyneside bouncer, was on hand to offer his support to Wilkinson over his decision to end his illustrious Test career with England.

He now believes that the 32 year-old will "blossom" during his final years in the club game before offering his wealth of expertise in management.

"In my opinion he has all the attributes to become a superb coach," Black told the Daily Mail.

"He has always been a student of the game, he has so many great ideas and I doubt many people know more about the psychological and physical preparation a team need.

"He is hugely interested in how sport operates and, with the experience he has, I think he would be tremendously successful.

"He will be remembered as one of the greatest sportsmen Britain has produced. He had a God-given talent but he is the most unselfish person I have come across. Everything he did was for the team."

Wilkinson will forever be remembered as the player who won the World Cup for England in 2003 with that right-footed drop goal. But Black says the fly-half's "defining moment" came four years' later.

He recalled: "We had got hammered by South Africa in the opening game [of the World Cup], but the fact Jonny had his fitness back and was in the side had an effect on the rest of the teams in the tournament.

"They assumed he had some sort of mythical status where he was going to win the World Cup on his own."

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