Jonny Wilkinson admits he is "bitter" after almost 30 months of injury setbacks since he dropped the goal that clinched victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final but insists he will come back better than ever.
The Newcastle fly-half has not played for England since the extra-time victory over Australia in Sydney and has featured only intermittently for the Falcons thanks to a series of injuries.
"I would have given anything to have played consistently over the past two-and-a-half years," Wilkinson told Rugby World magazine.
"There have been times when it's been painful. I've been incredibly depressed, demoralised, even bitter."
But he added: "I don't blame people for writing me off. I can see their point of view. But if people are saying I'm finished, I'm going to prove them wrong.
"Mind you, I do agree with them when they argue that, even if I do come back, I'll never be the same player again, I'll be a much better one.''
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.