When Gareth Southgate reflects on England’s two recent goalless friendly performances, his attention may be drawn to the south coast, where Callum Wilson yesterday became the first Englishman to score a Premier League hat-trick this season.
It is a hugely significant moment for Wilson, who has spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch in the last two years after suffering two cruciate knee ligament injuries.
“I’ve been there myself in the respect you get a serious injury. It’s a very lonely place, a hard place to come back from,” said Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager.
“Especially for Callum. He’d just scored a hat-trick in his first taste of Premier League football [at West Ham in Aug 2015]. It seemed like he had the world at his feet and it changed in an instant. But he’s always maintained positivity and enthusiasm. He’s worked hard on his body.”
Harry Arter added a fourth for the hosts, who played the second half with only 10 men after Simon Francis’ dismissal for two bookings. It is the third win in four for Howe’s side, a run which has seen them climb away from danger. Yet Huddersfield dominated the first quarter and might have scored through good openings for Rajiv van La Parra and Scott Malone.
They were incensed when Lee Probert did not give a foul after Charlie Daniels launched himself at Florent Hadergjonaj. Bournemouth played on and won a corner, from which Wilson headed in Jordon Ibe’s delivery.
There was perhaps more fortune about Wilson’s second just five minutes later.
The former Coventry striker latched onto Andrew Surman’s free-kick at the far post to side-foot past the hapless Jonas Lossl as Huddersfield appealed for offside.
“It was“2-0 after two refereeing decisions against us that were wrong,” was David Wagner’s summary.
“The corner was clearly a harsh tackle against us, maybe more than a yellow. We conceded the corner. The second was one yard offside. This was the referee’s job to see this. It wasn’t difficult to see as it was a set play. Unfortunately from my view it was not correct. These two goals changed the game completely.”
After Francis was shown a second yellow card following a trip on Van La Parra, Wagner made three early substitutions in an attempt to find a way back into the game. But Bournemouth remained dogged and obdurate, marshaled by the impressive Nathan Aké.
With the visitors increasingly desperate, former Bournemouth defender Malone attempted to dribble his way out of his own area. Harry Arter stopped him, shifted the ball to his left foot and buried it low into the corner to put his side three up and end his week on a happy note after being substituted at half-time in the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark.
Game over then – but not for Wilson. He had his strike partner, Joshua King, to thank for giving him the chance to complete his second Premier League hat-trick, though Wilson’s low finish into the right corner from the edge of the area was emphatic.