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England boss Gareth Southgate says Callum Wilson is deserving of his first international call-up for USA and

Gareth Southgate praised the resilience Callum Wilson has shown in his career after the Bournemouth striker received his first England call-up.

Wilson could make his international debut during the Three Lions’ friendly against the USA or their UEFA Nations League match at home to Croatia later this month.

Wilson has been in brilliant form this season

Wilson has been in brilliant form this season

He has shown outstanding form this season, scoring seven goals and providing eight assists in all competitions – contributing to more goals than any other English striker.

However, the 26-year-old has not been short of set-backs in his career, having suffered two serious knee injuries in less than two years.

And Southgate, who worked briefly with Wilson in the England under-21 set-up, said he would be interested to see what else the player would offer.

Speaking to talkSPORT’s Nigel Adderley, Southgate said: “His team are in good form and he’s been a key part of that.

“He’s a forward who runs in behind defences, harries defenders. He scores important goals and he’s a player we worked with briefly for the under-21s and I think it’s a good opportunity to get a closer look at him.

Wilson has scored seven goals and provided four assists this season

Wilson has scored seven goals and provided four assists this season

“He deserves it on the form he has shown in recent weeks.

“Any top level footballers has to show levels of resilience in their career, and he’s shown that to come back from the set-backs he’s had.

“To play international football you’ve got to have strong characters and we’ll find out whether that’s what Callum’s about that over the next few weeks.”

England’s first game of the upcoming international break sees them face the Americans in a friendly at Wembley, a game that will see Wayne Rooney make a Three Lions comeback a year after announcing his international retirement.

The game has been renamed ‘The Wayne Rooney Foundation international’ and a recall for England’s record goalscorer has attracted plenty of criticism including from talkSPORT hosts Mark Saggers and Jason Cundy.

However, Southgate defended the decision to dedicate the match to honouring Rooney’s contribution as an England player.

Southgate added: “The discussions between the FA and Wayne and his advisers have been going on for over a year.

“There was a possibility to pay tribute ahead of the World Cup and I think it’s right to acknowledge Wayne was keen not to do that as that might detract from the team and he didn’t want to be seen to be affecting our preparations.

Rooney’s announced his international retirement in August 2017

Rooney’s announced his international retirement in August 2017

“I think Wayne deserves it with England. He’s our record goalscorer, our most capped outfield player, it’s a quite unique circumstance and as manager of the team the legacy piece of how we respect and honour our former players is very important.

“You always know every decision you make will get some support and some criticism and that is a shame in this instance because we should look at what he’s done, the way that he’s played for England and pay tribute to that.

“We’re not very good at that in this country.”

Listen back to the full Gareth Southgate interview above

The England v USA game has been renamed ‘The Wayne Rooney Foundation international’

The England v USA game has been renamed ‘The Wayne Rooney Foundation international’

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