England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate says James Wilson has some “filling out” to do after the striker scored in the 1-0 win over a United States Under-23 side.
Wilson’s immediate future at Manchester United may be under some threat following the signing of record-breaking £36million French teenager Anthony Martial, but he put that to the back of his mind after he climbed off the bench to hit a 71st-minute winner for England at Preston’s Deepdale on Thursday night.
The 19-year-old, who looked set to go out on loan on transfer deadline day, displayed a poacher’s instinct for his goal and hit the post with an exquisite chip minutes later.
“I think he is a work in progress. There is some filling out to do physically and he has not had a tremendous amount of football but he scores goals,” said Southgate.
“It was a good time for him to come into the game.”
Southgate declared himself satisfied with his new recruits after their narrow victory as England warmed up for the start of their European Championship qualifying campaign in Norway on Monday.
“Given the short period of time the players have had with us they really took ideas on quickly,” added Southgate after giving 11 players their debuts from a rebuilt squad after last summer’s disappointment at the tournament in the Czech Republic.
“We’ve had three-and-a-half days as a group before today. Players have taken on a lot of info. We will develop that and improve that.
“We would have liked to have won, we have, we would have liked to have kept a clean sheet, we have.
“I liked a lot of our work with the ball. We caused our own problems really, conceding possession in bad areas and that can improve.
“Most pleasing of all was that the mentality of the players who came on was really outstanding and that serves us well for the future.”
Norwich’s Nathan Redmond was named man of the match after a lively performance out on the wing.
“I think the challenge for us with Nathan is we want to give him more responsibility within the group,” added Southgate.
“He has been with us at two Euros now. He is starting to score goals in the Premier League.
“If he can keep that quality of end product with his work rate and character then that is a real possibility for him.”ma