Tony Pulis promises fans there is more to come from West Brom new boys Ahmed Hegazi and Jay Rodriguez

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Tony Pulis says match-winner Ahmed Hegazi can replicate Gareth McAuley's goalscoring prowess from the back and promised supporters there is more to come from summer signing Jay Rodriguez too.

Ahmed Hegazi celebrates scoring on his Albion debut

Both debutants shone for the Baggies in their 1-0 win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns today, but it was loan-signing Hegazi who scored the first-half winner.

The 6ft 5in Egyptian crashed home a towering header from a Chris Brunt free-kick, but the goal came after Rodriguez peppered the Bournemouth goal with a high-tempo first-half display.

"The quality coming in from (Matt) Phillips and Brunt is first class and you need people who want to score," said Pulis. "That's what we have at this football club, players who are prepared to put themselves in positions to score goals.

"That's why (Craig) Dawson and McAuley score a lot of goals. Hegazi will continue to do that if he wants to get in there and score."

McAuley scored seven goals last season while Dawson netted four in a campaign that saw the Baggies net nearly 50 per cent of their goals from set pieces.

And Pulis is happy that the 26-year-old, who has arrived on a season-long loan from Al Ahly for £875,000, has hit the ground running.

"I watched two games in the African Cup of Nations," he explained. "I liked the two Egyptian centre-halves, him and the lad alongside him.

"We followed it up and found out he'd most probably be the best and we've taken a chance. Hopefully it'll be a chance that has come off."


But it was Rodriguez, who joined from Southampton for £12m this summer, who added a more potent goal threat from open play.

Pulis chose to play him up front instead of Salomon Rondon, and he's promised supporters there is more to come from the England international.

"Jay's been absolutely fantastic for us in pre-season," said Pulis. "His attitude and approach and everything else, he's not match fit yet, but he will get there he'll be a handful.

"He was a handful today. I'm just disappointed he's not scored because he deserved to score."


But Pulis was sure to praise the rest of his team, who worked hard all afternoon to stifle Bournemouth in possession, and looked dangerous on the counter.

"First half I thought we were very, very good," said Pulis. "I was really disappointed we came off winning by just one goal.

"Bournemouth had a lot of possession second half but we were very disciplined.

"Their rotation out wide and the way they move the ball is difficult to play against so you have to be well set up and patient. I thought we did that, and it's a great start. I'm really pleased for them. The players have worked so hard again today, we deserved to win it."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.


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