You have to go all the way back to 2003-04 to find the last time a Newcastle United player scored 20 Premier League goals in a season. Of course, when you think of who would have the quality and precision to do so, you immediately think of the legendary Alan Shearer - and you’d be right. The division’s record goalscorer scored 22 that year and no player for the Magpies has been able to equal that tally since.
The Geordie icon will be carefully looking over his shoulder in the final two games of the season as one particular forward for Newcastle is chasing down his tally. Callum Wilson has enjoyed an incredible season as the Magpies have quickly developed into a Champions League-chasing side. Following their 4-1 thumping of Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday, Newcastle are now just one win away from returning to Europe’s most prestigious competition, 20 years after they made it to the second group stage in 2002-03.
Wilson has scored 18 goals in the league so far in 29 appearances (six from the bench), and in the decisive stages of the campaign he has been their biggest asset. In April, he set a Premier League record for most goals in a calendar month by finding the net on eight occasions, taking the record from Shearer, who scored seven in September 1999.
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Wilson is into his third season on Tyneside and has been a commanding figure in the second half of the season to keep his team on course for a top-four finish. He has led the line brilliantly for boss Eddie Howe, as he did phenomenally when the pair worked together at AFC Bournemouth.
Over the years, Wilson has been plagued with injury problems, taking in ACL ruptures and several hamstring injuries. During his Newcastle career alone, he has missed 43 games across all competitions, including eight in 2022-23, which was a result of a hamstring problem, as well as contracting Covid-19.
Since November, he has not sustained any setbacks and his presence has been integral for his team continuing their momentum. But his hot streak in front of goal didn’t get going until last month. Before April, Wilson’s tally stood at seven in the top flight. In the last 10 games alone he has scored 11 times, and he is now closing in on the coveted 20-goal mark.
Following Newcastle’s Saudi Arabian-led takeover in 2021 it has been wondered how soon the team will be transformed from the current crop into a group of world beaters thanks to the money they have at their fingertips. Howe has developed many of the Magpies’ struggling stars into some of the brightest sparks in the Premier League, and while it is expected that the old guard will be moved on in the near future, Wilson is demonstrating his value and showing why he should be kept around.
The last player who came closest to reaching 20 goals in the top flight before Wilson this term was Demba Ba in 2011-12 with 16. With two games to go, Wilson still has a chance to pass the 20-goal threshold and join the likes of heroes Shearer, Andy Cole (who has the record in a single season for the club with 34 in 1993-94) and Les Ferdinand, by reaching the milestone in the division.
Next up for Newcastle is a home clash with relegation-threatened Leicester City, who have been defensively weak all year. Given the red-hot form Wilson is in, you’d be confident in him getting on the scoresheet and possibly becoming the fourth Magpies star to hit 20 goals in a single Premier League season.
At 31, you’d be forgiven for expecting Wilson to start winding down, but he looks like he is only just getting started. He has shown that he is still blessed with pace and everyone can see that he still has his eye for goal. Coupled with how well he links up play with his fellow attackers, you can imagine him holding a place in next year’s lineup and having a valuable role to play as Newcastle prepare to do battle with Europe’s elite in the Champions League.