Callum Wilson’s double fires Newcastle to impressive rout of Aston Villa

As auditions go it was extremely convincing and certainly must have given Gareth Southgate something to ponder on his drive home to North Yorkshire.

In scoring two goals, creating another and hitting the crossbar Callum Wilson not only made a compelling case for inclusion in England’s World Cup squad but reinforced Newcastle’s top-four credentials.

“Callum’s an outstanding striker,” said his manager, Eddie Howe. “And that was an outstanding performance. Callum was at the heart of a lot of what we did best.”

This ruthless dissection of Aston Villa – a deconstruction also witnessed by the Brazil coach, Tite, who must have been impressed with the uncapped Joelinton as well as Bruno Guimarães – earned Newcastle a fifth win in six Premier League games, leaving them fourth in the table.

Small wonder the home fans who unfurled a banner declaring “This City is Believing Again” before kick off are grateful to the incoming Aston Villa manager, Unai Emery, for turning down the St James’ Park posting last November and allowing Howe to prove how very good he is.

On this evidence Emery has much to get his teeth stuck into when he collects his work permit and clocks in at Villa Park on Tuesday, even if a team once again under the caretaker charge of Aaron Danks could have opened the scoring.

The moment when Dan Burn, a centre-half excelling at left-back, made a brilliant tackle to deny Emiliano Buendía a near-certain goal from close range will surely have caught Southgate’s eye during a stop-start and rain-soaked opening half, during which Villa used almost every time-wasting trick in the book.

In mitigation the 10 minutes of added time were largely accrued after a head injury suffered by Villa’s goalkeeper, Emiliano Martínez, when he collided with his teammate Tyrone Mings.

After prolonged treatment Villa’s captain was cleared to continue only to be helped off, walking very slowly and looking distinctly groggy, after collecting a cross and collapsing to the ground unchallenged 12 minutes later. Surely Martínez should have been taken off immediately after the initial incident? So much for the game’s supposed concussion protocols.

“Emi’s fine, he’s walking and talking but we’re going to need to take care of him,” said Danks. “He took a blow to the head but our very professional medical staff assessed him and initially said he was OK but then something obviously changed.”

Robin Olsen, Martínez’s replacement, was subsequently powerless to stop Wilson’s supremely assured penalty after Ashley Young handled a shot from the gloriously renascent Miguel Almirón.

It was Wilson’s fifth goal in nine games this season and seemed a particularly timely one for a striker who used a recent television interview to drop Southgate a heavy hint that he should be on England’s flight to Doha next month.

By way of emphasising the point Wilson deposited the ball in the back of the net for a second time, shooting from a tight angle after rounding Olsen, but he was frustrated by a late, albeit correct, offside flag. No matter: Wilson was playing intelligently, holding the ball up adroitly, linking play and stretching Villa’s backline. Does Harry Kane really have a better understudy?

He doubled Newcastle’s advantage early in the second period, heading beyond Olsen in the wake of a cross from Kieran Trippier after a clever short-corner routine culminating with Almirón’s audacious back-heel flick. “The game just ran away from us,” Danks said.

Olsen prevented Wilson from completing a hat-trick after a Newcastle counterattack but the rebound fell to Joelinton, who delighted in sliding the third goal home.

Almirón then added his sixth goal in six games, taking a couple of touches before curling home a wonderful left-footed shot.

“I’m running out of words to describe Miggy’s goals,” said Howe. “They’re all so good.”

The same could be said of his players on a day when the Gallowgate End sang “We’re going to win the league” and a smiling Southgate stayed until the very end.