Callum Wilson insists he has done ‘everything I can’ to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad

Callum Wilson believes that he has done everything within his power to put himself in contention for a place in Gareth Southgate‘s 26-man England squad to go to Qatar for the World Cup. 

Capped only four times for the Three Lions, the Newcastle forward, 30, told the Telegraph that he is expecting the call from the England manager this week after a brilliant start to the 2022-23 campaign with six goals in 10 games. 

His woeful injury record has left him on the outside looking in in recent years, but although Wilson is yet to hear from Southgate, he is not concerned about his prospects this time around. 

Callum Wilson is confident that he will receive a call-up from Gareth Southgate this week

‘I’m fit, I feel good,’ he told the Telegraph. ‘I’ve been a little bit under the weather and declared myself fit before the Southampton game, but I hadn’t trained, I’d been in bed for a couple of days and by half time I was feeling it – but I’m healthy.

‘I’ve not had any contact with Gareth, but I don’t think that is unusual. When I got my first call up back in 2019 there was no contact either so I’m not worried about that. It’s the way he has always done it. I’ll just wait, bide my time and keep everything crossed.

‘I don’t think I could have done any more. It’s six goals in 10 games, with two or three assists. I’ve tried to give everything to the cause, everything I can. Hopefully my best is good enough.’

He added: ‘I’ve achieved a lot given where I started in my career, but this is the ultimate; this is the final leap and the pinnacle of what you can achieve, playing for your country at a World Cup.

The 30-year-old has been in great form with six goals and two assists in 10 games this season

The 30-year-old has been in great form with six goals and two assists in 10 games this season

‘It’s the biggest thing you can get. It would be unreal. I’m 30, there isn’t going to be another opportunity. I’m not stupid, I know I’ll be 34 by the time the next one comes around – this is it, this is the moment.’

With three extra spots available in World Cup squads this season, players on the edge of consideration are offered a greater chance to make the final squad than they perhaps would in other tournaments. 

Although Roma’s Tammy Abraham has long been established as Southgate’s preferred No 2 behind Harry Kane, Wilson’s brilliant form – which also includes two assists – has seen him tipped by many pundits to make the cut. 

And it is perhaps indicative that the FA have been in contact with the sport science and medical staff at St. James’ Park for information on Wilson’s training programme and fitness, as the Telegraph revealed earlier in November. 

According to reports the FA have been in contact with Newcastle's medical staff over Wilson

According to reports the FA have been in contact with Newcastle’s medical staff over Wilson

Wilson has often been overlooked for major tournaments as a result of his shocking injury record that has seen him miss 42 games for Newcastle since arriving in 2021. 

‘It’s been a case of working hard to get back to the level where Southgate thinks I am good enough to contribute to the squad. I think I’ve done that and for once the timing is perfect with such a big tournament coming up.

‘The type of character I am, I’m always trying to achieve bigger goals. When you find yourself, unfortunately, out of the squad – often for factors out of your control – I’m not one who assumes I’m good enough to be in there or deserve to be in there.

‘I wasn’t doing enough on the pitch when I first arrived at Newcastle. And then there have been the injuries…they have been unfortunate, especially timing wise. It’s been a frustrating three years, lots of up and downs.’

Wilson has only been capped four times, with his only goal coming against the USA in 2018

Wilson has only been capped four times, with his only goal coming against the USA in 2018

But it was not watching Three Lions forwards of the late 90s and early 2000s like Michael Owen, Alan Shearer or Robbie Fowler that inspired Wilson to one day represent his country.

He explained: ‘My first memories of watching England was David Beckham scoring a free kick against Greece. I think it was 2001. I was in the social club in Coventry where my family all used to go. I was watching it there.

‘I was just a kid, nine-years-old, a young pup, but that was the real eye opener for me. It was watching what it meant to people for that goal to go in and for England to be going to the World Cup.

‘That was the moment when I decided I wanted to be here now. I wanted to be a footballer. I wanted to feel what David Beckham was feeling. I remember thinking to myself “what must he be experiencing now, how amazing would that be.” I’ve been chasing that, to get to that level and there is no bigger stage.’

David Beckham's 2001 free-kick against Greece sent England to the 2002 World Cup

David Beckham’s 2001 free-kick against Greece sent England to the 2002 World Cup