EDDIE Howe saluted Callum Wilson in the wake of his first senior England call-up and said: “Hopefully, it will elevate his game to another level.”

Cherries striker Wilson was yesterday rewarded for a stellar start to the campaign with a spot in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man squad for clashes with the United States and Croatia at Wembley Stadium next week.

No Englishman has scored more goals in the Premier League this season than the 26-year-old, who has recovered from two serious knee injuries while at the Dorset club.

Boss Howe said: “I’m delighted for him and his family – a very proud moment for them and for him. It’s fully deserved.

“I’m delighted he has had the payback for the mental strength he showed during the adversity of the injuries he faced.

“I never saw him down for a moment and it just goes to show what you can do with that mindset. He has come back this season looking very confident and in really good physical condition and has performed really well.

“It’s a reward for his all-round game, which has definitely improved. The assists he has had with the goals have contributed to his call-up.

“He has faced difficult moments with courage and positivity. There was never a day where I saw him down or wallowing in self-pity, which is sometimes very difficult when your body won’t let you do what you love to do.

“For me, there was no doubt Callum was going to come back in good shape and I don’t think Callum doubted it either, and that’s the true test.

“I don’t think the call-up will change him in any way because he has always had the mindset that this was going to happen and that it was meant to be.

“He’s a very positive, very driven, confident person. Hopefully, it will elevate his game to another level.”

Widespread reports in recent days have linked big guns Chelsea with a swoop for Wilson, following his haul of seven goals in 13 games this season.

And Howe says he takes those rumours as a sign Wilson is doing a good job.

The manager said: “We’ve had it before with other players. I see that as a positive, not as a negative. It means they are in good form and performing well.

“We’ll take that all day long, knowing there is no substance to a lot of these stories, some there is – we can’t let it affect us in any way.”

Cherries tomorrow face Newcastle United at St James’s Park and Howe revealed he would make a late call on Joshua King, who has been struggling with an ankle injury.

The Norwegian first sustained the issue while on international duty in mid-October.

Howe said: “Josh has been training this week. We’re going to make a late decision on him.

“We’re not sure at this moment in time if he will be fit or not.”