Newcastle United star plays down ‘selfish’ suggestion with cheeky England World Cup goal vow
A second-half Marcus Rashford brace either side of a first tournament goal for Phil Foden saw The Three Lions progress to the last-16 as group winners. Newcastle United’s No. 9 replaced Harry Kane for his second World Cup outing following last Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran.
“It's a good night, a special one,” Wilson told ITV. “One that we needed to respond to after the last game [where] the performance was a little bit flat so today we knew we needed to focus on the performance and the result would come off the back of it.
"Thankfully we did that and we're through to the knockout stages. The first half was a little bit hit and miss, we had a few opportunities and then once the goal went in, our confidence went through the roof and it kind of took the energy out of them.
"We hit them with another goal straight after that and all of a sudden the game is open, more players like myself could come on the field and try to stretch it and get more opportunities to score and we managed to get three on the night.”
Wilson contributed with an assist for Jack Grealish against Iran and was a creative influence once again as he linked play up in the final third and set up chances for Jude Bellingham and Marcus Rashford.
Rashford’s second goal came after the Manchester United man cut inside from the right, ignored Wilson in space shouting for the pass and drilled the ball through the legs of Danny Ward and into the goal to make it 3-0. It was Rashford’s third of the tournament so far and England’s 100th goal scored at a World Cup.
But Wilson admitted it would be ‘selfish’ of him to admit any disappointment that he didn’t get on the scoresheet himself.
“No, that would be selfish of me,” he laughed. “You come on the field and you want to do well and I just found myself in positions where I was having to pass it to other people.
"The goal kept closing up and other people were in better angles and positions. As a striker you make a decision on the field and for the team and that's what I tried to do with Marcus, tried to do with Jude.
"I was waiting for that opportunity myself but maybe I'll save that goal for a bigger game.”
The past couple of months have seen a different, more creative side of Wilson’s game to the fore with the striker grabbing four assists in his last nine matches for club and country. Before that, Wilson had gone 30 matches in all competitions without registering an assist despite scoring 13 goals himself in that time.
Next up for England is the last-16 match against Senegal on Sunday (7pm kick-off).
“It's all about enjoying tonight, keeping our feet on the ground then we'll analyse Senegal, look at their strengths and weaknesses and see how we can implement our style on the game,” Wilson added. “We want to progress so it's all about focusing on the process and the result should come off the back of it.”