Jonny Wilkinson has not ruled out the possibility of making his long-awaited England comeback before the end of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
The World Cup-winning fly-half is close to returning from his latest setback, a knee injury suffered soon after recovering from neck and shoulder problems.
Wilkinson is now back in training with Newcastle and says he would be willing to play for England in their next match against Italy on March 12, although Falcons boss Rob Andrew has claimed that would be "irresponsible''.
Wilkinson said: "The best thing I can do is to get fit and say, 'Look I am fit and ready to go'.
"That's really as far as I can go on it. I know that whatever happens the right decision will be made, the pressure won't be on me to make it.
"If I was fit I would play. It's out of my control but all I want to do is make sure that I can play one of the games."
Andrew has warned against rushing Wilkinson straight back into international for the Twickenham clash against the Italians.
Newcastle had only pencilled the fly-half in for his comeback in their March 13 Premiership fixture against Harlequins.
Andrew told The Times: "The recovery is going very well but the key will be how he is reintroduced.
"That can only be through a club game, probably off the bench. It would be irresponsible to put him straight into a Test match.
"For the Harlequins game he might be close, but it is touch and go. We can't afford to get it wrong with a knee injury."
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.