Gary Neville feels England would have a major issue if Harry Kane is replaced by Callum Wilson of Newcastle United or Marcus Rashford of Manchester United.
The England captain suffered an ankle injury in the victory against Iran and has subsequently had a scan to determine the extent of the ailment.
Kane is expected to be eligible for Friday’s game against the United States, which means Wilson is unlikely to play his first international match since 2018.
The 30-year-old Newcastle player came off the bench in the triumph against Iran and excelled. His assist for Jack Grealish was outstanding, since he offered his teammate an open goal rather than scoring himself. Wilson had a terrific moment, and Gareth Southgate applauded him for what he accomplished.
Wilson was the logical pick to serve as Kane’s backup at the World Cup, given his form for Newcastle this season. However, Neville feels the Three Lions would struggle if the Magpies’ number nine is forced to start ahead of the country’s golden kid.
What Neville had to say about Wilson
While on punditry duties for Spain vs. Costa Rica on ITV1, Neville acknowledged England’s injury concerns. He stated why Southgate can’t afford to be without Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
“When there’s room in behind, I believe Wilson and Rashford are excellent,” Neville remarked.
“However, I believe that when you play against clubs with a deeper defence, they do struggle with their back to goal at times.”
“With Harry’s talent, he can just slide in.” His assists have been as excellent as his goals for Tottenham over the last several years.
“It would be a major worry in terms of leadership and quality, and we don’t have a straight substitute, as we have in many other roles.” But we didn’t get there.”
Neville’s assessment is severe.
We’re not fooling ourselves: Wilson is not on the same level as Kane. However, Neville’s judgement of the Newcastle striker seemed rather severe.
To suggest Wilson struggles with his back to goal is totally inaccurate. While this may be true for Rashford, who is better out wide, it is not true for Wilson.
We’ve seen the £20 million guy use his strength to intimidate defenders. He did it excellently against Kane’s team in a 2-1 victory in October, when the 29-year-old was defeated by Sven Botman.
Wilson has the speed to go in behind the defence, but he can also play with his back to the goal. With his deceptive power, he may be a focal point in an assault.
And, if Neville is looking at assists, he won’t forget the one Wilson provided for Grealish only a few days ago.
Wilson is not the world-class striker Kane is, but his inclusion in the Three Lions squad would not be the disaster Neville believes it would be.
More Newcastle Latest news: Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has already made Cristiano Ronaldo feelings clear
More Newcastle latest news: Report: Newcastle now on red alert as ‘world class’ forward is about to get sold in January
More Newcastle latest news: Newcastle United CEO Darren Eales drops hint on Castore kit deal