EDDIE Howe believes hotshot Callum Wilson can launch a late bid for a World Cup spot if he impresses in the remaining months of the season.

The former Coventry City striker has scored six goals in 14 Premier League appearances since returning from the second serious knee injury of his career.

Three of those goals have come in Wilson's past five top-flight outings, boosting his hopes of featuring for Gareth Southgate's England side in Russia.

Put to him that the 25-year-old could be a World Cup contender, Howe said: "He could be. I think Callum would need to score a lot of goals and have a really good back end of the season to put himself in contention but whenever I'm asked these questions I can never say no, I don't think that's right.

"The possibility is there for him to do that."

Asked if Wilson had returned sharper from his injuries, Howe said: "I think he would say yes because that's the type of character he is. From my perspective, I hope to say yes.

"I hope in the future I can say Callum was better in different ways after the injury in terms of his strength of character, his resilience, his understanding of his body and how that affected his performance.

"I am really pleased with his return. I don't think it can be underestimated how well he has done to this point.

"My challenge for any player is that it's over a longer amount of time that you prove that.

"I'm not sure reaching the World Cup gives him extra motivation because one of the beauties of Callum is he has always had the desire to achieve and improve.

"I've never seen him lose that for a second and I think that's one of his biggest qualities."

Cherries are yet to be represented in the England side at senior level. Wilson has played for England under-21s, while team-mate Jermain Defoe's 57 senior caps for the Three Lions came prior to his move to Cherries last summer.

Discussing the duo, Howe said: "I think there's similarities in their mindsets. As players, they are different.

"Every goalscorer needs to want to score but never to the detriment of the team.

"I wouldn't say that is the case with Callum because he is one of the biggest team players – as an out and out number nine – that I have seen.

"A lot of his selfless running is for the benefit of the team, which is not lost on anyone."

In the wake of Wilson's first serious knee injury, then-England boss Roy Hodgson revealed the frontman had been "on the radar" for a call-up.

Speaking to Sky at the time, Hodgson said: "He has been unlucky. I can't say he would have necessarily been in the squad because I am happy with the players we have got but Callum has a lot of ability and is one we would have continued to follow quite closely."