Callum Wilson insists he made the “right decision” in squaring to Jack Grealish during England’s 6-2 win over Iran at the World Cup, though did hint he hoped to be repaid later in the tournament.
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The striker was a late substitute as Gareth Southgate’s side made an early statement in Qatar, teeing up Grealish for England’s sixth goal.
At the age of 30 and having taken a long road to the top, Wilson could surely have been forgiven for attempting to score himself. Having battled back from a number of long-term injuries and with England guaranteed to win at that point anyway, it’s hard to imagine there being too much uproar even if the Newcastle striker had missed.
Still, Wilson chose to set Grealish up, offering an indication of the player he is. Rather than focusing on himself, the team is obviously much more important.
Southgate praised the former Bournemouth striker’s decision-making after the game, saying (via The Shields Gazette): “What I particularly liked was Jack Grealish’s goal with Callum Wilson on.
“He could have been selfish but he was thinking of the team even at that moment. I’m a miserable so and so. I should be more excited but I have to keep the team on the right track.”
What did Wilson say about his England assist?
Speaking to reporters after the game (via The Shields Gazette), Wilson said: “As a striker, you want to score, you’re playing in a World Cup you want to score a goal at the World Cup.
“But you have to make the right decision on the pitch, it’s about the team, not me as an individual.
“I think for me, in that moment, I made the decision to square it. It was the right one, the angle was closing up.
“You get repaid – that’s what happens in football, you give back and you receive as well so we’ll see how we go.”
How well did Wilson play against Iran?
While it’s hard to draw too much of a definitive judgement from the performance given Wilson came on in the 75th minute of a game England had already wrapped up, his stats are certainly impressively.
According to WhoScored, six touches yielded one key pass (for Grealish) while the Newcastle star completed all four of his passes. Clearly, that’s hardly the biggest sample size of data, though at least he made some level of impact on his tournament debut.
With England looking in good shape to wrap up the group early, perhaps Wilson can play his way into Southgate’s starting lineup should the Three Lions boss look to rest Harry Kane. On this evidence, Wilson isn’t likely to let him down.