Eddie Howe believes there is still time for Callum Wilson to earn a place in England’s squad for the World Cup in November. A thigh injury has dictated that the Newcastle centre-forward has not been named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Nations League games against Italy and Germany, when he was widely expected to receive a recall. Instead England’s manager has called up Brentford’s former Newcastle striker Ivan Toney in what appears a key audition for the role of Harry Kane’s principal understudy.
Howe, though, believes Wilson could yet add to his four senior caps in Qatar. “I feel for Callum because he’s not in the England squad,” said Newcastle’s manager, who, conscious of the 30-year-old’s tendency to pick up injuries, signed Alexander Isak for £59m from Real Sociedad last month. “But it will just fuel his motivation, it will fire him even more, so when Callum returns to our team he will show how good he is.”
Although close to full fitness, Wilson is expected to miss out on Saturday’s match with Howe’s former club Bournemouth at St James’ Park but should return after the international break.
“I think there’s time for Callum to make the World Cup squad,” said Howe. “And I know Gareth feels the same. What does he have to do? He has to return and score and be consistent in his availability. Maybe he has to have a bit of luck somewhere else to make that plane.”
Before signing Isak Howe – who believes the Sweden striker could play alongside Wilson – explored the possibility of recruiting Toney. After making only two senior appearances for Newcastle, Toney was allowed to leave in 2018 during Rafael Benítez’s managerial tenure but has rebuilt his career at first Peterborough and now Brentford.
Part of Howe’s brief is to try to help prevent any future Toneys slipping through the Tyneside net. “I’d love to think that wouldn’t happen now,” he said. “That’s not a criticism of anyone here at that time; why Ivan left, I don’t know. But when you watch him play now and see his attributes and what he can bring to his team, he’s an outstanding player.
“His England call-up is a great thing for people that drop into the lower leagues. It gives them hope that it’s not the end of their dreams. Ivan’s had to work his way back up and he’s done incredibly well.”