Pundits react to Callum Wilson's excellent assist as England beat Iran in World Cup opener
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Pundits react to Callum Wilson's excellent assist as England beat Iran in World Cup opener

Callum Wilson made his England return on Monday afternoon, and managed to get himself an assist in the World Cup win over Iran.

The 30-year-old started on the bench for the Three Lions, but was handed an opportunity in the second half. Gareth Southgate made the decision to withdraw Harry Kane in the 76th minute, handing Wilson his first international appearance since 2019.

It meant Newcastle had two players on the pitch representing England, and Kane’s departure saw Kieran Trippier don the captain’s armband.

It was a special afternoon for Wilson, who sadly wasn’t able to mark his first ever World Cup appearance with a goal. But he certainly had an opportunity to.

Jude Bellingham’s perfect pass combined with Wilson’s excellently timed run saw the Toon striker race through on goal. At 5-1, he had the chance to make it six and score for his country.

Photo by Shaun Botterill – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

But Wilson was selfless, and pulled it back to Jack Grealish. The Manchester City man did the rest, scoring just his second goal since having a pop at Miguel Almiron.

It was somewhat ironic that Newcastle’s number nine provided the assist for Grealish, and the Match of the Day pundits have been assessing Wilson’s layoff.

Shearer and Lineker shocked by Wilson assist vs Iran

England’s win over Iran was broadcast on BBC in the UK. Gary Lineker was the host, and was joined by Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Micah Richards as pundits.

The latter had the job of breaking down Grealish’s goal, and made sure to pay tribute to Wilson for his role in England’s sixth.

Then the conversation turned to whether Wilson should have gone for goal himself.

“You have to give credit to Wilson here who Alan’s been talking about all game,” Richards said.

“But the composure [from Grealish] just to hold your run and finish it and make an impact when you come on.”

Shearer then added: “I’ve just said to Gary, you’ve scored five goals and you’re coming on as a substitute. Would you have passed that?”

Lineker replied: “Well…no, of course not.”

Selfless Wilson

While Shearer and Lineker might be surprised that Wilson didn’t go for goal himself, the £20million man will receive more praise from Gareth Southgate for what he did.

It was selfless from the striker, and it’s something we have seen from him in a Newcastle shirt already this season. Wilson had the chance to score against Brentford back in October, but instead handed Jacob Murphy an open goal. And that was when Wilson was still chasing a place in England’s World Cup squad.

It is all about the team for Wilson, and he has played his part in what is a perfect start to the tournament for the Three Lions.