JONATHAN Woodgate was delighted to see Dominic Solanke return to Cherries’ starting XI and insisted: “He’s one of the best strikers in the league.”

The Cherries frontman made his eagerly-anticipated comeback from an ankle injury, playing 80 minutes in his team’s 1-0 victory over Watford at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Solanke’s appearance was his first under new head coach Woodgate, having picked up the ankle issue in Jason Tindall’s final game before he was sacked.

Asked about the return of the 23-year-old, Woodgate told the Daily Echo: “Dom had been out for three weeks. He hadn’t done much training – it was a bit of a risk at times.

“If it was a muscle injury, I wouldn’t risk it, but it’s a slight ankle injury so I think you can strap it up and play.

“He holds it well. He’s got good movement, he’s quick, he’s decent in the air. He’s one of the best strikers in the league.”

Solanke had featured in every league game this season before being struck down by the setback.

And the former Liverpool and Chelsea frontman insists he is raring to get going again.

He told the Daily Echo: “Obviously in the past couple of weeks it’s been difficult watching and not being able to go out there and help the team.

“But I’m back, so hopefully I can stay fit now.

“If the team were winning every game it wouldn’t have been too bad but knowing you could probably help the team if you were fit – that’s difficult to take.”

He added: “Before the injury I was involved in every game – started a lot of games and I found my feet and got quite good confidence from that.

“We need that confidence in the team and hopefully I can pick up my form quickly, get some more goals and help us get back to the Premier League.”

As well as working under Eddie Howe and Tindall during his time at Cherries, Solanke had also featured under the likes of Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp earlier in his career.

Asked what it was like to work under his latest boss in Woodgate, the forward said: “He is a good guy and a passionate guy and he wants to do well, like all of us. I think that’s what you need right now and we need to kick on.

“He brought me up to date with how he wants the team to play. We managed to put that to plan.

“I haven’t really been training. I was involved in the past couple of days and it will be good to carry on working together.”