Callum Wilson made sure his Newcastle United debut was one to remember, as he scored the winning goal and lived up to his $23-million price tag in a season-opening victory over West Ham United on Saturday.
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After the game, Wilson was predictably delighted with himself, but not only for having opened his account as a Newcastle player. Wilson will have had plenty of options this summer with a handful of clubs interested in his services, but it was very important to him that he made the right choice for the betterment of his career. It’s only one game, of course, but Saturday went a long way toward confirming that idea in his mind — quotes from the BBC:
“I seemed to get off to a good start on my debut and it was a great team performance. We were solid at the back and that gave us the platform.
“I am quite a confident person anyway and my job is to score goals. I feel this is a great squad with great potential and I am trying to be the definitive piece in the puzzle, putting the ball in the net.
“I like this place, I like playing against West Ham. It is not a disrespectful thing but I keep scoring against them. It is about being consistent and building on this performance for the next game.
“We were well organized, the shape and the way we set up gave us that platform. The reason I joined here was great players in the squad and I could have had a hat trick. As long as they keep coming, I’m happy.
“It is disappointing that my debut goal wasn’t in front of the fans who would have travelled down.
🗣 "Hopefully it's the first of many."
Great debut, @CallumWilson! 👊
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 12, 2020
With all due respect to Bournemouth, his previous club, Wilson now gets to be a big fish in a much bigger pond at Newcastle, where the expectations are massive and he will, theoretically, be surrounded by the quality necessary to push onward and upward in the PL table.
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As for manager Steve Bruce, he’s quickly realizing that the newfound Newcastle approach of making smart purchases in the transfer window — and doing so early on, before the season starts — could be hugely beneficial to his side this season.
“I wouldn’t say [it was the] best week [ever], but when you come away from the Premier League and win 2-0 with two new signings scoring, it helps the cause. There was not much in it and we have a striker who scored typical striker’s goal. Callum Wilson enjoys playing against West Ham and it was good to see them two get off the mark. We were worthy winners.
“We have been missing the goals, Callum will give us something different and makes the squad better. He can only help the situation.
“We have made progress, it is a long season and cannot get carried away but the last week has been a positive week for everybody, the impact the signings have made, the supporters in particular will like the look of them.
“That is certainly the best I have seen of Andy Carroll since the year he has been back. He has scored a couple goals in preseason and when he plays like that and he stays well, we know what sort of competitor he is.