Jonny Wilkinson believes a move to Toulon can give his career the fresh start he needs, and he has set his sights on getting back into the England side.
Wilkinson brought a 12-year stint with Newcastle to an end yesterday when he signed a one-year deal with Toulon, and the 29-year-old is hoping to turn it into a long-term move after six years of injury woe.
“A fresh start, I feel, is what I need and I will get it there,” Wilkinson wrote in his column in The Times. “I feel like a kid again.”
“I have signed for a year. That was my decision because I want to stay in control of my future, but I would hope and expect it to be a success and for me to re-sign for longer. And I hope that this will be the springboard to what I see as another five years in my career.
“I hope it will give me the games to rebuild an international career, too. I haven't played, for obvious reasons, and so I haven't figured for England and I want that to change. And because I haven't had the games, I have just seen a Lions tour slip by.”
Wilkinson admitted that he is yet to have the all-important medical, which will come next week, but he said he is confident his knee will come through all the tests.
“I don't see it as an issue,” he said. “Physically I am now fine. I wouldn't be signing for next season if I wasn't going to be playing.”
Wilkinson paid tribute to the Newcastle Falcons and thanked them for standing by him through his injury problems, but admitted he had felt the need to move on to break out of a continuous cycle of injuries.
“I've wanted to pay back Newcastle for so long, but after a while you have to ask, ‘Am I actually achieving that?’” he said.
“It had got to the point where I wasn't helping by being around the club any more and the association of me as an injured, non-playing person had set in and I hated that. A different club will help me to escape all that negative energy.”