CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe believes new signing Callum Wilson has “real potential” but feels comparisons with his other striking protégés would be unfair.
Howe played a pivotal role in putting Danny Ings and Charlie Austin on the road to stardom and was also instrumental in the development of Jay Rodriguez.
He handed Ings his first pro contract during his first spell in the Dean Court hot-seat before shelling out £1million on the frontman when he was in charge at Burnley.
Howe was also the first manager to spot Austin’s talents at non-league Poole Town, making the one-time labourer his first signing after taking over at Turf Moor.
Rodriguez, a product of the Clarets youth system, earned a £7m move to the Premier League with Southampton after blossoming under Howe’s tutelage during 2011-12.
Wilson became Cherries’ third summer signing when he completed a big-money move from hometown club Coventry City earlier this month.
The 22-year-old, who scored 22 times for the Sky Blues in League One last season, netted his first and Cherries’ 10th goal during their 11-0 rout of Dorchester on Saturday.
Howe, asked by the Daily Echo whether he felt Wilson could follow in the footsteps of Ings, Austin and Rodriguez, said: “I think he has real potential. I haven’t worked with him long enough to make any big assessments like that and don’t think it would be fair to do that to him.
“If anything, we want to take the pressure off him and just get him to enjoy his football, enjoy working with us and try to develop as a player. If he shows the right attitude and with the attributes he has, he has a really good chance of being successful.
“Charlie and Danny had to work their way up and Jay came through the youth system at Burnley. They are all top players. Callum’s season with Coventry would indicate he has a bright future but, at this stage, I just want him to enjoy his football, find his feet with us and see where it takes him.”
Wilson, who debuted for Cherries when he lined up in the first half against FC Copenhagen, is expected to feature when Howe’s team host Southampton at Dean Court on Friday (7.45pm).
He told the Daily Echo: “The manager has a great reputation and has helped a number of strikers kick on in their respective careers. He is also a proven Championship manager so they are plus points for me. I know I am going to relish working under him.
“My aim is to get through pre-season and get my first Championship campaign started. I think I will do well and think I will score goals. If you can score goals, you can do it at any level and, once the first one goes in, hopefully many more will follow.”