England hero Jonny Wilkinson insists his passion for rugby remains undiminished after declaring himself fit for the start of the season.
Wilkinson was ruled out of the ill-fated summer tour to New Zealand because of a shoulder problem and underwent successful surgery in May.
The 29-year-old has targeted the Premiership opener against Sale on September 7 for his comeback, despite his lack of activity during pre-season.
And in news that will lift the spirits of English rugby, he insists his competitive fires burn as fiercely as ever despite an injury-ravaged four years.
"The plan is to play in the first game of the season. I don't know my involvement because I won't have played pre-season, but that's the plan," he said.
"I don't question that I've always had the desire. That's the animal I am. I can't question that.
"I said some time ago about practice. It's not a conscious choice any more - it's something I know that it's part of my life and I will do it.
"The difficult one will be telling myself to give up, certainly not wondering whether now is the time.
"Maybe someone will have to come in there and decide for me."