Penrith Rugby Club have offered a special salute to Mark Wilson - the player they helped on the road to international stardom.

The Newcastle Falcons captain this week announced his retirement from rugby union at 32.

A knee injury had prompted him to make what he described as “an incredibly hard decision”.

Wilson, from Kendal, started his career with Penrith before going on to make his way through Newcastle’s academy and win 23 England caps - including an appearance in the 2019 World Cup final.

Penrith, in a social media post, wrote: “Stand high and be proud Mark. You have done all us Cumbrians well. Good luck with whatever path you follow.”

Wilson said he had made the right decision for himself and his family.

He said: “My injury has made me re-assess where I’m at from a career point of view.

“That has been in the background and been in my thoughts quite a lot, and whilst it hasn’t been the case that the injury has physically ended my career in its own right, it’s certainly been one of the main things which has added to my decision.”

Wilson made 237 appearances for the Falcons, scoring 42 tries.

His England outings, meanwhile, included one try against Japan in 2018. He last played for his country against Ireland in last season’s Six Nations.

Wilson added: “I’ve been involved with the Falcons since I was a 14-year-old coming over from Kendal for academy training, and I’ve got some amazing memories.

“You never really know how you’re going to end your career, but for me, this is my time to call it a day.”

He paid tribute to team-mates, supporters and his family - reserving special thanks for his wife Amy, and children Ella and Zach.