England’s Callum Wilson ready to challenge Harry Kane for starring role
Callum Wilson always believed he would play for England – even during his days on loan at non-League Kettering.
The Bournemouth striker appears to have a thankless task as skipper Harry Kane’s understudy in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
But Wilson, 27, is not short of confidence. Even when he was making his way at Coventry, being loaned out to Conference sides Kettering and Tamworth, his belief that one day he would pull on an England shirt never wavered.
“If you don’t believe you can get somewhere, you will never get there,” he said.
“The aim was always to play for the national team and to play in the Premier League.
“When I got there, I felt I had been there before because in my head, I had been.
“I never actually told any players that. It’s a bit disrespectful when a lot of them were older and never got that opportunity.
“They would think, ‘Young whippersnapper coming in, saying he’s going to play for England, get out of here’.
“I basically told my family and friends and they all said, ‘Yes, go for it’. There would be some games I played terribly and would think, ‘Oh no, it’s never going to happen’.
“But you have to keep that belief – and here I am.”
Wilson hasn’t started since scoring on his debut in a friendly against USA 11 months ago.
His only Three Lions appearances since have been brief cameos against Montenegro six months ago and Switzerland in June.
Wilson doesn’t think in terms of replacing Kane, just being 100 per cent ready when another chance comes.
“Harry is a great player and I’m not saying I want to kick him out of the team,” he said.
“But with injuries, things that happen along the way, you have to be ready to grasp the opportunity.
“I have to be ready to come on and make a difference. I like to think I can make an impact.
“In cup games, I tend to come on for Bournemouth as a sub and you get quite a few goals with defences tiring. But no professional will ever say they want to be on the bench.”