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World Cup 2018

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Callum Wilson urged to push for World Cup place after Bournemouth hat-trick

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has backed injury-plagued Callum Wilson to play his way back into England contention ahead of next summer's World Cup.

Striker Wilson hit a hat-trick in the 4-0 thrashing of Huddersfield on Saturday, his first Premier League goals since he suffered the second serious knee injury of his Cherries career in February.

The uncapped 25-year-old was previously being considered for an international call-up by former Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson early in the 2015/16 season before his dream was wrecked by a ruptured cruciate ligament which kept him sidelined for more than six months.

With Russia 2018 just around the corner, Howe believes the player he signed from Coventry in the summer of 2014 possess the necessary mentality and ability to represent his country on the biggest stage.

"I know he was very much on their radar just before he got injured and rightly so because his form to that point in the Championship and the start of the Premier League had been so strong," Howe said.

"Callum will be chomping at the bit, he's that type of guy, he wants more, he wants to achieve, he's not here to make up the numbers, he's always had that mindset.

"If he does well for us then I think everything else will take care of itself.

"I'd love all my players who are representing their countries to go to the World Cup. If Callum carries on in this type of form then it's in his hands."

Wilson was out for almost nine months following the more recent injury, which was sustained on the opposite knee to the initial problem.

He scored from the penalty spot on his comeback in the Carabao Cup success over Middlesbrough last month, while his weekend goals against the Terriers were his first from open play since he registered in a 6-1 thrashing of Hull back in October 2016.

Despite Wilson's impressive return, his manager still feels he has work to do to rediscover top form.

"It's not the end of the road for Callum, he still has a road to go to get back to his best, in my opinion," Howe added.

"I think that's the same for any player who suffers a long-term injury but certainly the signs are good that we know he's going to get there.

"I'm just happy for the boy that he's looking so good and scoring goals in our team."

Wilson's first two goals against Huddersfield came in contentious fashion, with Charlie Daniels going unpunished by referee Lee Probert for a strong challenge on Florent Hadergjonaj in the build-up to the first, and the forward perhaps being marginally offside from a free-kick for the second.

Huddersfield head coach David Wagner felt the decisions cost his side the game but said it was pointless to talk to the officials about them.

"It makes no sense to speak with them because I know that they try their best, even if I have to say especially the second one, no, both ones, they have to see," the German said.

"This is their job, after a set-play I have to see offside, this is a situation when I can be totally focused."

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