posted on May, 27 2004 @ 05:00 PM
England boss Sir Clive Woodward has warned that Jonny Wilkinson must be furnished with the
trappings his superstar status deserves or he could be lost to American football. Wilkinson was already a well-known figure before last year's World
Cup but the Newcastle fly-half's match-winning extra-time drop-goal in the final swept him to new levels of celebrity.
Alongside the likes of David Beckham and Michael Owen, he has become one of the darlings of English sport, boasting an army of fans and tracked by
well-wishers and autograph hunters wherever he goes.
Woodward insists such fame will attract attention from rival sports alerted to the player's prodigious kicking ability and singled out gridiron as the
most likely sport to plunder the jewel in England's crown.
The aftermath of Wilkinson's World Cup heroics brought with it the inevitable reports that cash-rich American football franchises were circling to
pluck him from England's grasp but no concrete offers were made public, if they existed at all.
However, Woodward believes the threat from across the Atlantic still looms large above his prized asset and claims the only way to deal with it is to
make sure Wilkinson is rewarded financially.