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After a gap of three years, Callum Wilson is back in the Three Lions setup after the striker He edged out Ivan Toney to be second-fiddle to Harry Kane in Gareth Southgate’s plans.
The Newcastle attacker has impressed with six goals in 11 Premier League outings this season, though his tally is four fewer than Toney, who has been the other standout English attacker in the 2022/23 campaign.
Action on the pitch will not be easy to come by for Wilson given Kane’s form. The English captain has hit the back of the net 12 times in the league, leading Tottenham to fourth place in the Premier League table.
Ahead of the tournament, however, Wilson is aware of his role in the squad. The ex-Bournemouth man insists that he will give his all when called upon and acknowledged that these opportunities will be rare given Kane’s stature in England’s camp even if he fails to score.
Reflecting in the Footballer’s Football Podcast, the Newcastle striker hailed Kane for his services, who deserves to be the first name of the team sheet.
“I know Harry is an unbelievable player,” said Wilson. “He’s the England captain as well. He is going to be the first choice on most people’s team sheets, so I know my role.
“I’m not deluded enough to think I am going to the World Cup and I will be competing and playing every game, this and that.
“There will be periods and elements of the tournament. Of course, tournament football is different to league football. You are going to have to manage the load. You will have to see games out in a different style and things like that.
“I think there will be an opportunity there, and when it does come, I will be ready to take it with both hands. For me, it’s not just the attributes I bring on the pitch, I bring things off the pitch as well. I am older. I am mature. I am a leader. I will be in training pushing people.”
Callum Wilson knew he'd be in the World Cup squad five years ago 💪 pic.twitter.com/tncndlspy0
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 15, 2022
Newcastle’s English contingent gets the nod
Wilson will be looking to add to his four international caps at Qatar. The long gap between his appearances will surely add to the occasion. However, he should be able to manage it given his accrued maturity.
He has gone from being a focal point of a midtable outfit with Bournemouth to contending for Champions League slots at St James Park. He has defied expectations as the Magpies punch above their weight and establish themselves in the top four.
The 30-year-old will be part of Newcastle’s three-man contingent in the England squad with vice-captain Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope also receiving tickets to Qatar.
Pope is in a similar position to Wilson and will be fighting Jordan Pickford for a place between the sticks. Only Trippier is a favourite to start for Southgate against Iran in their tournament opener.
The veteran defender has forced his way into the English ranks, dislodging competition from the array of youthful wingbacks plying their trade in the Premier League. He has also been helped with a series of misfortunes to Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell, who has been fighting injuries and covid scares in his bid to play for the Three Lions.