The 34-year-old will be best remembered for kicking the winning points during England's victory over hosts Australia in the 2003 World Cup final.
However, Lancaster considers Wilkinson to be one of the most important players in English rugby due to his relentless hard work both on and off the pitch.
"Possibly the most influential England player of his generation. Up there with the best, but not just on the field," he told Sky Sports News.
"He delivered so much. It was his execution, his ability to win games, nail the big moments and if he hadn't of had the amount of injuries that he had, he would have won many more international caps.
"But it's his influence off the field as well that defines the legacy that he leaves. His level of preparation and attention to detail off the field was unsurpassed."
Wilkinson won a total of 91 caps for England before announcing his international retirement in 2011.