IMPRESSED boss Eddie Howe insisted two-goal Callum Wilson’s sensational Cherries debut had been deserving of a hat-trick – despite the new boy’s blip from the penalty spot.
The £2million-plus striker, 22, belied his lack of Championship experience with a bristling, confident display in Saturday’s 4-0 opening-day crushing of Huddersfield Town.
With a composed strike and instinctive near-post finish under his belt, Wilson’s tireless running saw him latch on to Joel Lynch’s short header back to Alex Smithies before being sent sprawling by the Terriers keeper on 76 minutes.
With the result already wrapped up, penalty taker Yann Kermorgant handed his strike partner the chance of a first senior hat-trick, only for the ex-Coventry man to side-foot into the grateful grasp of Smithies.
But having watched Wilson start from where last season’s top scorer Lewis Grabban left off, Howe was quick to praise the frontman and reiterated his faith in Cherries’ attacking options.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “Lewis was a big player for us last season, there’s no denying that, and we were disappointed to lose him but we have good strikers.
“Yann arrived in January and made a real impact on the team and, having signed Callum in the summer, we believe in him and he showed he has attributes to play at this level in what was a really good start for him.
“He was excellent and deserved his hat-trick. The penalty was disappointing for him but that was the only negative thing because his strength and ability to unsettle defenders really stood out for me.”
Marc Pugh’s quick-fire opener saw Cherries take a stranglehold after just 24 seconds and the visitors went on to incessantly pick holes in Huddersfield’s 3-5-2 formation with Kermorgant’s close-range follow-up sandwiched by Wilson’s brace.
Howe added: “Whichever system a team plays, you look at it. Each has its strengths and its weaknesses that people will look to exploit and we’re no different to anyone in that respect.
“Three at the back has become very fashionable and Huddersfield have done well with it, particularly last season. I think that was the first time we’ve beaten a team playing 3-5-2 for quite a while so we were pleased to finally do that.
“We couldn’t have wished for a better start and I thought Pughy did so well to take his chance. The game had just kicked off and sometimes they can come too early but he stuck it away really well and we never looked back from that moment.”