(Reuters) – Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe said striker Callum Wilson is “desperate” to fulfil his dream of playing at the World Cup after scoring twice in Saturday’s 4-0 Premier League win over Aston Villa with England boss Gareth Southgate watching on.
Wilson has four caps for England and has not played for them since 2019, but the former Bournemouth forward has improved his chances of a recall to the national team for the tournament in Qatar starting Nov. 20 since moving to Newcastle in 2020.
After netting a penalty in first-half stoppage time, Wilson nodded in his second following a short corner in the 56th minute and set up a goal for Miguel Almiron, before hitting the crossbar with another header.
“I’m really pleased for Callum. I’m not too aware what the players know and what they don’t know about who comes and who’s watching. I almost think it’s better, you play your normal game and you’re not over-thinking,” Howe told reporters.
“Callum is desperate to be involved with England, it’s one of his childhood dreams, so he will be really pleased that he played so well. He scored the two goals and his overall performance was very good.”
Having returned to the Newcastle squad at the beginning of October following a month out due to a thigh injury, Wilson has scored three goals to take his tally this season to six from nine league games.
Newcastle great Alan Shearer said Wilson’s qualities made him the right candidate to back up first-choice England striker Harry Kane in Qatar.
“If Callum is fit, he should be the one because he offers that run in behind. He’s certainly the one in the box. It’s a big ‘if’ with his fitness,” Shearer told the BBC.
“We know how fragile he has been in his career but if he’s firing and fit, he’s the one who should go for me.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Klamann)