Rugby hero Jonny Wilkinson is to set to receive a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours next week.
The 35-year-old, who inspired England to World Cup glory in Sydney in 2003, has had a glittering 17-year career.
But he is also being recognised for his extensive charity work in Britain, including for the NSPCC, and in France, where he played for Toulon for five years.
A well-placed source said tonight: “Jonny is one of Britain’s greatest-ever sportsmen.
“He has always represented England with distinction. He is a hero and a shining example to millions around the world. He thoroughly deserves this.”
Wilkinson, who played fly-half and inside centre, announced his retirement from rugby union in May. He spent 12 seasons with Newcastle Falcons before joining Toulon in 2009.
His performance in the Sydney World Cup earned him the OBE in the 2004 New Year Honours list.
Wilkinson kicked a last-minute drop-goal in extra time to seal victory over Australia in the final – and had earlier kicked all of England’s points in their 24-7 semi-final win over France.
Read more on the Mirror.