CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe hopes Tokelo Rantie’s first home goal will be the next piece of the jigsaw in the striker adjusting to the demands of the English game.
Rantie proved to be Cherries’ match-winner when he came off the bench to seal their 2-1 victory over Championship rivals Huddersfield on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old showed his predatory instincts when he applied a fine finish to Eunan O’Kane’s superb assist just three minutes after replacing Andrew Surman.
Rantie has been the subject of much debate among Cherries supporters, with the South Africa international netting just once in his first 19 appearances following his big-money move from Malmo.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “We have never doubted TK because we work with him every day. We see what he can bring to this club for, hopefully, many years.
“He is extremely quick, he is getting better all the time technically and he is a good finisher. We work closely with him on all aspects of his game and he is going to be a real talent for this club.
“For me, it was always going to be about how quickly he adjusted to the English game, how quickly he got to know his team-mates and how he settled off the pitch.
"All these things are still in progress and he is not the end product. People probably won’t see the best of him for a bit of time down the line.
“Scoring his first home goal will be very important and, hopefully, the crowd can now see what he is going to bring because he took it really well.
"It would have been easy for him to have snatched at it because he had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes.
“He scored a stunning first goal for the club to earn us an excellent point at Burnley and his goal against Huddersfield helped us secure an important home win. He has also contributed a great deal to the team in every game he has played.
“It is early days for him in his career in England and he is still only 23. He is a very dedicated footballer and a hard worker.
"We have every confidence in him and know he will continue to improve. Scoring his first goal in front of our supporters will give him a great boost and you could see from his reaction just how much it meant to him.”