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Sherwood's message: Rudy's an asset

Published 08/08/2015

Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede (39) celebrates with team-mate Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth.
Aston Villa's Rudy Gestede (39) celebrates with team-mate Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor after scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood hailed Rudy Gestede's instant arrival in the Barclays Premier League after his second-half header ensured there would be no fairytale start to life in the top flight for Bournemouth.

Gestede, who signed from Blackburn in a £6million move earlier this month, came off the bench after an hour and opened his account inside 13 minutes of his debut.

The imposing six foot four inch French striker rose above the rest of the Bournemouth defence from an Ashley Westwood corner to score the game's winner.

It marked Gestede's 20th headed goal since the start of 2013-14 campaign - five greater than any other player has managed in England's top four leagues.

"I don't think our centre-backs are too happy defending against him every day in training," said Sherwood of the 26-year-old striker.

"He attacks the ball for his life and throws everything at it. He flies in, he hurts people if they get in his way, but he seems to get up himself.

"He terrorises defenders - he doesn't give them a minute - but he is more than just a battering ram. He is very accurate with his heading and his hold-up play is very good. He gives us another dimension."

Sherwood had already described Gestede's arrival as a "bargain" following his switch from Ewood Park.

However, the Villa manager admitted he was reluctant to blood his new signing, who scored 30 goals in 62 appearances for Blackburn, following a lack of pre-season action.

Sherwood added: "Everyone worked hard to get Rudy in - we tracked him for a long time - well I certainly have, and I mentioned him to the scouting department. The reports were very good so everyone was in agreement that he would be a good acquisition .

"His mentality is excellent, his training and work ethic is fantastic, so I am delighted for him today because he has got no right to be playing. He has only played 45 minutes of football in pre-season.

"I asked him if he could do a job and he wanted to start - he was disappointed not to - but we need to protect these players as much as we can."

Gestede provided the spark for the visitors in a game which Bournemouth never looked in danger of losing.

Indeed it was the Cherries, playing their first match in England's top division, who had the best chances to record a historic win.

The hosts, roared on by a euphoric crowd, had more shots, more corners and more possession than their established opponents.

But they spurned a number of golden opportunities - most notably in the closing 10 minutes of the opening half - to leave a sun-drenched Vitality Stadium with nothing to show from their impressive display.

"I thought we were outstanding in the first half and very pleased with the display," said manager Eddie Howe.

"I think we have learned today what the Premier League is about - how difficult it is going to be if you are not clinical.

"There were plenty of positives from my perspective, but also a lot to work on."

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