James Lawton: Media glare begins to bring world-beaters down to earth

Tuesday 16 December 2003 01:00

There is a growing suspicion that Jonny Wilkinson and his World Cup-winning mates are not, in fact, 21st century Englishmen. The theory is that they are either time travellers or visitors from another planet, hence their extreme discomfort with the demands of celebrity.

The idea is unattractive to all those who believe they represent a refreshing force in our national life, but the X-file is beginning to bulge with examples of their other-worldliness.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence comes from Mike Tindall, the Yorkshire centre. Here he discusses the clamour after his attendance at a ball with Zara Phillips: "I thought it was crazy that two friends - just friends - should go to a ball and the next moment we're all over the front pages. Zara said it happens to her quite a lot and that made me feel better."

Who knows, a few more dates might leave him feeling like a fully fledged earthling.

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