Callum Wilson is determined to make his mark for England after fighting back from two serious knee injuries to become one of the country’s hottest attacking talents.
The 26-year-old is the latest player to be rewarded by Gareth Southgate for impressing on the path less travelled, having spent time on loan at non-league Kettering and Tamworth before making his mark at hometown club Coventry.
Wilson moved onto Bournemouth in 2014 and helped fire them from the Sky Bet Championship into the Premier League, where Eddie Howe’s men currently find themselves riding high in sixth.
No English player has bettered the striker’s league tally of six goals and last week he became the newest addition to the Three Lions set-up – a move largely overshadowed by the one-off comeback of all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney.
“It’s nice, it’s an honour, sharing a dressing room with people like Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane,” Wilson said of his esteemed company.
“It’s nice and obviously it is something that from when you are younger you always want to do. To finally get here is a great achievement.
“When I walked in, I felt like I should be here.
“I felt like my performances this season have justified my selection at the moment.
“I play against them week in, week out, different players in the squad, so you get to see them in various opposition teams, but you’ve still got that mutual respect there.
“I always felt comfortable coming in here.”
Wilson is ready to take his club form onto the international level and continue his remarkable comeback story.
Callum Wilson (centre right) celebrates scoring against Watford earlier this season (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Not only did he rupture the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in September 2015, but 16 months later he suffered a rupture in his left.
“It is like anything in life – if it is worth fighting for, you are going to have to go through some tough times to get there,” Wilson said, stoically. “It’s the same for me, really.
“Yeah, I’ve had a few setbacks, but it just makes you stronger and makes you appreciate things more.
“When you get here now, you appreciate it a lot because of what you’ve done in the past.”
Wilson spoke in great detail about the rehabilitation process, along with the lessons learned from rushing back from the first ACL injury.