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Eddie Howe backs Callum Wilson to help ease England striker crisis

Eddie Howe backs Callum Wilson to help ease England striker crisis
© Reuters
The striker has struggled for goals lately.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has backed Callum Wilson to help ease England's injury crisis after ending a 15-game Premier League goal drought.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has seen his first-choice attacking options severely depleted by problems suffered by Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham.

Cherries striker Wilson, who has won four caps for his country, has been a regular in recent England squads but his international chances have been harmed by a prolonged spell without finding the net.

The 27-year-old snapped his barren run during struggling Bournemouth's much-needed midweek win over Brighton.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, Howe feels Wilson can play his way into Southgate's plans by repeating his standout performance in the 3-1 success against Albion.

"It's all going to depend on how Callum plays between now and the summer," Howe said of Wilson's England prospects.

"My message to him would be just to concentrate on playing well for us, scoring goals for us, doing what he does very well, as he did against Brighton.

"The standout thing was his all-round game, he held the ball up, he worked incredibly hard and ran in behind, he was a real threat, a real menace the whole game and got his reward.

"And I think if he continues along that line he will go very close."

Southgate is not due to name his next squad until March ahead of friendlies against Italy and Denmark.

Tottenham striker Kane, who has a torn hamstring, will certainly miss those matches, while Manchester United forward Rashford, who has a stress fracture in his back, is unlikely to be available.

Meanwhile, the extent of the ankle injury sustained by Chelsea top scorer Abraham remains unclear.

Howe insists Wilson has remained positive during his difficult run in front of goal but expects the overdue strike to be a weight off the player's shoulders.

"Callum's always upbeat and I'm not just saying that," said Howe.

"He's that type of character, he's always smiling, he's always bouncing into training, so I've had no problem with Callum in terms of his mood and how he's felt.

"I'm sure he will be delighted to score because he lives for scoring goals.

"I'm sure that will have made him feel better internally but he never lets that show externally."

Bournemouth remain in the relegation zone on goal difference following only their second win from 13 top-flight fixtures.

The victory alleviated mounting pressure on manager Howe and, ahead of Monday evening's FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Arsenal, he believes it was a "big moment" in his side's disappointing season.

"It's been nice to see players with that feeling of winning and enjoying life," said Howe.

"Everything looks different when you win. The players gave everything to the match and got rewarded with a massive win.

"It was a big moment in our season in lots of different ways.

"Everything was transformed, now we have to use that in the games coming, starting here against Arsenal."

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