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Callum Wilson still isn't the man to back up Harry Kane despite Newcastle United form

Ryan Sidle

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Callum Wilson still isn't the man to back up Harry Kane despite Newcastle United form

Callum Wilson scored against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday evening, sparking talk of him heading to the World Cup, but the Newcastle United forward still has plenty of competition.

Wilson looked in good form against Spurs, scoring the semi controversial opener, after a stupid mistake from Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal.

With Gareth Southgate having submitted his 55 man World Cup squad to FIFA and being just weeks away from the final 26, there's lots of talk about who could go as back up striker to Harry Kane.

Even Wilson was in the mood to admit it was his dream to go to Qatar, telling Sky Sports, "Of course [I’m looking at the World Cup].

"For me, I’m just focussing on my performances. Game in game out, little by little, trying to add goals but also all-round performance I think I’m trying to improve.

"Hopefully, it catches the eye of the England manager — that’s my dream to play at a World Cup."

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It has been a long ongoing problem for Southgate, as it has for Spurs managers, in order to find a requisite back up to Kane.

The 29-year-old is one of the best strikers in the world and it's difficult to find the right person to replace him when needed, which is only when injured considering it's so tough to rest and rotate him.

Wilson has certainly thrown his name in the hat but he is one of several options and he might not actually be the best one.

The former Bournemouth striker has certainly proved himself to be an excellent goalscorer, having been relatively consistent at the top level for the past seven seasons.

However, that doesn't actually make him the best option to replace England's first choice forward, with Ivan Toney a better option.

Wilson celebrates Newcastle's win over Spurs. Image: Alamy
Wilson celebrates Newcastle's win over Spurs. Image: Alamy

The Brentford striker has scored more in the past 14 months than his counterpart, although that's also to do with the amount of games he's played.

However, it's the number of assists that Toney has provided that makes him the best option for the Three Lions, having set up teammates seven times in that spell.

Of all the options for England, only Kane has more in that time frame, on 10, and it's an extremely important part of the international captain's game.

Should he be unavailable for any games, or for a prolonged period, Southgate either has to replace Kane like for like, or find a different plan.

Finding a different plan would likely mean the likes of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden or potentially Marcus Rashford playing through the middle.

However, going like-for-like is a better idea and Toney is the closest to Kane of all the players, due to his ability to move away from the penalty area and help his teammates, and his passing.

The 26-year-old was in the previous squad but didn't get to play at all, but Southgate would have had the chance to see him in training.

His penalty taking is also second to none, and might arguably be even better than Kane's, who recently missed one in the Champions League and missed in the Euro 2020 semi-final, before scoring the follow up.

Toney was in the previous England squad. Image: Alamy
Toney was in the previous England squad. Image: Alamy

Wilson, like Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins, represent an option that isn't different enough to Kane nor close enough to the Spurs striker in style.

With a 26 man squad there could be room for two back ups to Kane but again, Rashford could be more likely to make it to the Middle East due to his ability to also play on the left.

The Manchester United forward may have been dropped by Southgate earlier in the year but he has come back strong this season, and would have been in the previous squad, for the Nations League, if not for an untimely injury.

There's no doubting that if Wilson were to be picked then he would make an excellent back up at the World Cup but ultimately, he isn't the best person to be number two to Kane.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Newcastle United, England, Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur, Football World Cup, Callum Wilson

Ryan Sidle
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