Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes Jack Wilshere will do great things for the club after making his debut in the 1-0 victory over West Brom at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
Howe opted to start Wilshere on the bench and introduce him after 63 minutes when the game was still goalless, admitting only the Arsenal loanee’s fitness prevented him from starting.
A deft finish from Callum Wilson in the 79th minute gave Bournemouth a deserved first victory of the Premier League campaign, and the England international’s influence from the bench made a mark on the manager.
“We were very close to picking Jack Wilshere, but he made a real impact when he came on,” Howe told BBC Sport.
“I was just concerned at his ability to play as long as we needed him to if he started. It was quite obvious to me that he will do great things for this team.
“He’s given everyone a lift just because of his name, his quality can only rub off on the other players and boost them.”
Wilshere said he was happy to start on the bench as he looks to build his fitness up.
“It was a good win for us and it was good for me to come on and get my first minutes and get used to how the lads play,” Wilshere added.
“I spoke with the manager during the week and he’s got a plan for me so I was happy to be on the bench.
“My biggest goal is to get as many games as possible, if there is a question mark about me I know that it’s my fitness, so I hope to get as many minutes in, prove everyone wrong and re-kick my career.”
Howe thought his side were full value for the win after dominating the first half, reserving particular praise for goalscorer Wilson, whose goal was his first since September 2015 having spent much of last season sidelined with a knee injury.
“It’s a massive day for us. The first half we were completely dominant,” he said.
“There’s such small margins between teams at this level, we had to be very patient, but it was a great goal by Callum Wilson.
“I’m really pleased for him, players go through highs and lows, he’s had a severe knock with his injury but he always shows enthusiasm and brightness and you could see from his celebration how much this meant to him.”