Callum Wilson admits he’d happily wear the No.9 shirt for Newcastle United, but won’t be banging on Steve Bruce’s door to take it from Joelinton.
Speaking out for the first time this summer, last season’s top scorer insists that he ‘plays for the badge on the front of the shirt, not the number on the back’ – although that doesn’t stop him from appreciating just what it would it mean to follow in Alan Shearer’s footsteps.
Many expected the striker to be handed Big Al’s old number when he sealed a £20m move from Bournemouth last summer, however he ended up taking No.13 instead.
Here’s what Wilson told FourFourTwo when asked if he’ll be looking to take the No.9 jersey off Joelinton heading into the 2021/22 season:
“Of course, I know what it means at this club, but it’s a tricky one because the shirt’s taken.
“If it ever became vacant, and was up for grabs, I’d happily wear it. But I’m not particularly superstitious, underlined by the fact I wear 13 which hasn’t served me too badly!
“The bottom line is that I play football for the badge on the front of the shirt, not the number on the back, but that doesn’t mean I’m not familiar or in awe of the history of the No.9 shirt – and those who have worn it.
“It’s very humbling, and a huge honour, to be mentioned in the same breath as those greats, and if I can achieve just a quarter of what they did at Newcastle, I’ll be delighted.”
There really is a lot to like about Wilson. Not only is he an ice cool finisher and hard worker on the pitch, he seems both humble and hungry to succeed off it.
It may seem like a kick in the teeth for Joelinton if our club record signing was stripped of the shirt he was handed following his £40m move from Hoffenheim, yet some may argue that the pressure it brings is weighing him down.
After all, he’s not and out-and-out striker and tends to thrive more as a support player, making many believe the pair could benefit from swapping numbers this summer.
Either way, Wilson has got it spot on in his response to FourFourTwo, appreciating the importance of the shirt without putting unnecessary pressure on his fellow Toon forward.