Goals on their Newcastle United debuts by striker Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick gave their side a comfortable 2-0 away win over West Ham United in their Premier League opening-day clash on Saturday.
West Ham hit the woodwork twice during a goalless first half but Wilson, Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey also went close for the visitor before the break.
Signed on Monday for a reported 20 million pounds ($25.59 million) from Bournemouth, Wilson pounced on Hendrick's clever flick-on from Javier Manquillo's cross to put Newcastle ahead in the 56th minute.
Manquillo almost set up Wilson for a second in the 75th minute but this time the 28-year-old forward couldn't quite get on the end of the low cross and the ball was cleared.
Instead it was Hendrick, who joined on a free transfer from Burnley in August, who wrapped up the three points for Newcastle as he received the ball from Miguel Almiron and rattled home a shot three minutes before the end of normal time.
“From day one, the lads have made me feel welcome and I was just raring to get going,” a delighted Hendrick said.
“You see in training the squad that is here. The strikers can all score and all bring different qualities to the team. We had to dig deep and work hard for it,” he added.
Wilson was equally pleased to get off the mark. “I'm thankful for the goal, but first and foremost it was a great team performance, solid at the back, and that's what gave us that platform to go and express ourselves in the final third,” he said.
Plenty to ponder
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who has been linked to a move to London rival Chelsea, was highly critical of his side's performance, saying it harked back to last season's struggle against relegation.
“I don't think we could have played any worse to be honest. We were poor as a team and individually,” he said.
“There is no time to play poor in the Premier League. We had a dip last year and found ourselves in the deep end and it was not enjoyable.”
“I'm going to have many years and many goals where St. James's Park is going to be full, and I'll be able to celebrate in front of a full house,” Wilson told Sky Sports.
“I've come in the door and my job is to score goals obviously, and help the team get performances... I feel this is a great squad with great potential,” he added.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce was impressed with Wilson and fellow debutant Hendrick, who set up Wilson's goal before scoring himself late on.
“There was not much in it, and we have a striker who scored (a) typical striker's goal. Callum Wilson enjoys playing against West Ham and it was good to see them two get off the mark. We were worthy winners,” Bruce said.
“We have been missing the goals, Callum will give us something different and makes the squad better. He can only help the situation.”
West Ham manager David Moyes will have plenty to think about before the team travels to Arsenal next Saturday, while Newcastle hosts Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.
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