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World Cup 2022: Callum Wilson predicted England selection four months ago in diary

Callum Wilson
Wilson scored on his England debut, a 3-0 friendly win over the USA in 2018
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson says he wrote ‘pack for Qatar’ in his diary four months before he was selected for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old was named in England’s 26-man squad despite not playing an international game since 2019.

Wilson, who has struggled with injury setbacks in recent years, has netted six Premier League goals this season.

“The timing couldn’t have been any better,” he said on the Footballer’s Football Podcast.

“I was going through my diary the other day and I hadn’t used it for a few months and I had actually written on Sunday’s date ‘pack for Qatar’.

“I just believe in the power of visualisation and those positive affirmations. A few weeks ago, people were asking me where I was going in the winter break and I said Qatar.”

On how he heard about his England selection

“It was crazy. I was taken aback to be honest,” Wilson said.

“You hope that you get in there, you’re wishing and praying and you feel you have done enough, but until you get that message nothing is set in stone.

“I came in from the training ground and the lads were like ‘Cal, have you not heard anything? It should be time!’ and I saw Tripps sat there smiling so I thought he must have had a message and I had nothing.

“I checked my phone but none of the notifications were from anyone from the England set-up. Then I went on to the archive because it’s a long time since I was in the squad and the archive message was there.”

On how others reacted

Wilson said he had tried not to give away whether or not he had been selected before the official announcement was made.

“I just kind of kept a straight face and the lads were like ‘you’re not really smiling and you’re not really disappointed’ so I said ‘we’ll see’,” Wilson said.

But there were others who were congratulating him before the squad was released.

“I was getting messages saying congratulations and I thought the squad hasn’t even been announced yet so how do people even know,” he added.

“My phone was blowing off and it was too overwhelming. At the best of times I hate replying, I’m the worst person. I was like ‘I can’t handle this’.”

On his hopes for Qatar

Having last appeared for England back in 2019, when he came off the bench in a 6-0 Euros qualifying win against Bulgaria, Wilson is delighted to be representing his country at a major tournament.

“Putting the Three Lions badge on again is a proud moment for me and my family,” he said.

“I don’t want it to just be the World Cup squad and that be it. Now the place is mine and I don’t want to give it up again. I’ve worked hard to get my place back so I’m not giving it up easily.”

The Coventry-born forward believes England can go one better than their achievements in the Euros last summer, where they lost to Italy in the final.

He said: “I think this group of players, the squad, the manager, it’s got all the ingredients of success there.

“The boys got to a Euros final last year. I was in the stands watching and was thinking ‘that needs to be me, I need to get back to that level’. This time I’m going to be on the other side of the white line.”

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