‘No doubt’ - Alan Shearer assesses Newcastle United star’s World Cup Finals hopes

The United striker hit form in front of one interesting observer on Saturday.

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Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has thrown his support behind Callum Wilson’s bid to secure a place in England’s World Cup Finals squad.

The Magpies striker looks to be moving on from his injury problems and put in a fine performance in front of England manager Gareth Southgate as Eddie Howe’s men romped to a 4-0 home win against Aston Villa.

Wilson opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first-half injury-time and doubled his tally and his side’s lead 11 minutes after half-time following intricate build-up play between Miguel Almiron and Kieran Trippier.  The former Bournemouth star also played a part in United’s other two goals after he saw a shot saved before Joelinton fired home a rebound and then set up Miguel Almiron for the fourth and final strike of another impressive display.

Wilson really could have hammered home his credentials for a place in Southgate’s 26-man squad when he came within inches of completing his first hat-trick for the Magpies when he headed against the crossbar from a Jacob Murphy cross.  The striker received a rapturous ovation when he was replaced by Chris Wood in the closing-stages and Shearer believes one of his successors in the famous number nine shirt could have secure a place on the plane to Qatar with an all-action display at St James Park.

He told Match of the Day: “It was one of his most important performances today in front of the England manager. He had to go out and perform, he’s had his injury problems and there are centre-forward places up for grabs for the World Cup.  I thought his performance today was superb and has probably cemented - if he’s fit - his place in the England squad. He plays his part in the (opening) goal, they win the ball back and it’s a lovely weight of pass into the magnificent Almiron.

“It’s a really clever penalty, we said we think he might go straight down the middle. It’s a really well-worked set-piece from Newcastle, good ball also from Trippier and he’s there to finish it off (second goal). He gave Tyrone Mings a torrid time all afternoon, he didn’t know when to go tight or sit off him like he did there (for Almiron’s goal) and give him time to take a touch and turn. He gets above Mings there and it’s a magnificent header, and you can see the reaction of the crowd, his team-mates and the England manager.”

Assessing Wilson’s chances of breaking into the World Cup Finals squad, Shearer concluded: “If Callum Wilson is fit, there’s no doubt in my mind that he should go. He’s had injury problems, there’s no denying that, but if he’s fit then for me, he has to go because he provides something different.”

Wilson will hope to add to his tally of four goals in his last six games when United make the long journey to the South Coast to face Southampton next Sunday afternoon.