Callum Wilson boosts World Cup hopes with double for Newcastle against Villa

Striker impressed in front of England manager Gareth Southgate

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Callum Wilson scored twice in front of England boss Gareth Southgate to boost his World Cup hopes as Newcastle romped to a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.

The striker converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time and then added a second-half header before Joelinton followed up his shot to make it 3-0.

Miguel Almiron’s sixth goal in as many games wrapped up the scoring on an afternoon when the Magpies were not at their best but were good enough to claim a fifth win in six Premier League games, ultimately in some comfort.

Wilson’s overall contribution as well as his goals will not have gone unnoticed by Southgate, who was joined by Brazil counterpart Tite among a crowd of 52,233 at a rain-soaked St James’ Park, with the World Cup finals in Qatar just three weeks away.

New Villa coach Unai Emery will take up his post next week with his side having competed well until the penalty, but they wilted alarmingly six days after seemingly getting their season back on track with a 4-0 win over Brentford.

After an untidy start on a slick pitch, Villa settled quickly. Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Buendia were prominent and started to cause problems for a home defence yet to find its rhythm, with goalkeeper Nick Pope having to race from his line to deny Buendia with 12 minutes played.

Joelinton forced an 18th-miute save from Emiliano Martinez after collecting Fabian Schar’s raking cross-field ball and cutting inside full-back Matty Cash, although it took Dan Burn’s last-ditch intervention to prevent Buendia from latching on to Leon Bailey’s pull-back in front of goal as the visitors responded.

Watkins miskicked from Cash’s inviting 29th-minute cross and Buendia’s follow-up was blocked by Kieran Trippier as Villa enjoyed a strong spell.

Almiron had a chance to open the scoring two minutes before the break when he ran on to Trippier’s through-ball but saw substitute goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who had replaced the injured Martinez, block with his legs.

However, Olsen was beaten deep into 10 minutes of first-half stoppage time when, after Ashley Young had blocked Almiron’s shot with an upraised arm as he slid in, Wilson dispatched the resulting spot-kick.

The England hopeful had the ball in the back of the net again before the break eventually arrived, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

But Wilson’s second of the game did arrive within 11 minutes of the restart when he glanced a deft header inside the far post after Trippier and Almiron had worked a short corner move.

He would have completed a hat-trick three minutes later had Olsen not got down to repel his shot, but the keeper’s work counted for little as Joelinton followed up to make it three.

Almiron’s superb 68th-minute strike – his seventh goal of the season – capped another enterprising display by the Paraguay international, and only the upright prevented substitute Jacob Murphy from making it five with Olsen rooted to the spot.

Updated: October 29, 2022, 5:31 PM
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