Jonny Wilkinson is the second senior England player to publicly criticize the team’s World Cup campaign.
Several weeks after England’s quarter-final exit at the World Cup, retired skipper Lewis Moody revealed in his book, Mad Dog: An Englishman, that the players were out of control during the tournament in New Zealand and deserved bans. Now veteran flyhalf Wilkinson has criticized his team-mates’ work ethic in his autobiography, Jonny, which was released on Monday.
‘I tell them I cannot believe that our defence coach has had to ask a group of players to buckle down,’ he wrote about the moments after their unconvincing win over Georgia during the pool stage. ‘There’s sometimes a lack of hunger on the field, a lack of desire to get things right.
‘The basics are working yourself into the ground, and the only reason you don’t work hard enough is that it doesn’t matter enough to you. What that ultimately means is that the other 29 guys in this squad don’t matter enough to you.’
The 32-year-old also blamed the World Cup ball for his poor goal kicking during England’s campaign.
‘Being unable to rely on my goal kicking makes performing physically and mentally draining. The organisers can claim that all the balls are the same, but they are not. It’s a joke.’