ALBION head coach Tony Pulis will be delighted if Ahmed Hegazi goes on to become The Hawthorns' latest folk hero – but he is urging fans not to rush to judgement.
Pulis was delighted with the match-winning Egypt international’s Premier League debut as the Baggies kicked off the new campaign with a 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth.
But Pulis was eager to stress that it was early days for a defender signed after he watched two of his performances at the Africa Cup of Nations, at which Hegazi was named in the Team of the Tournament.
“It’s good to see him get off to a good start and we’re all really pleased for the lad,” said Pulis.
“He’s been an absolute pleasure to work with since he came into the club. He’s mixed in well with the lads, speaks good English and he has played well.
“It is just one game….let’s see where we are after 30 or more.”
But with both Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans missing because of injury, Hegazi’s goal-scoring intervention in the first half was most welcome but not surprising.
Pulis added: “The quality coming in from Phillips and Brunt is first class and you need people who want to score.
“That’s what we have at this football club, players who are prepared to put themselves in positions to score goals. That’s why Dawson and McAuley score a lot of goals.
“Hegazi will continue to do that if he wants to get in there and score.”
As always, though, the Baggies head coach was much more focused on the team’s output at the end of a second successive opening-day win.
“I walked off at half-time really disappointed we were only one goal ahead,” he said.
“We knew what Bournemouth were going to do and in the second half they did it – they moved the ball around trying to drag players out of their pockets where they hope to hurt you.
“We had worked hard all week preparing for that and I was delighted with the concentration of the players for not letting that happen.”