Friday 24 February 2017

Ireland midfielder Harry Arter praised for 'excellent' performances following family tragedy

Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Harry Arter, left, is embraced by Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe
Harry Arter, left, is embraced by Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says that midfielder Harry Arter has been a “credit” to himself, his family and club following his consistency on the pitch following his personal tragedy late last year.

Arter put in a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-1 win over Manchester United in December, just hours after it was revealed that his fiancé Rachel had lost their baby daughter Renee days before her due date.

The Republic of Ireland international admitted it was the “worst day” of his life, but has been a key figure for the Cherries in the battle to avoid the drop. He has figured 12 times since that memorable win over United and claimed his first Premier League goal in the 3-1 defeat to West Ham in January.

Arter, who solitary international appearance against England last year, will have his sights set on a place in Martin O’Neill’s Euro 2016 squad and speaking in the Bournemouth Echo, Howe paid tribute to 26-year-old’s strength of character.

“Nothing will ever take that away for Harry and his family. That experience will follow him for the rest of his life and it has been incredibly difficult for him,” he admitted.

“What I will say about him and his family is that they have conducted themselves so well and Harry has been so strong through this.

“He has been able to produce some excellent performances and has been very consistent.

“Day to day, his attitude and commitment to work have not been affected, although we are still aware that behind the scenes the pain hasn’t left him so full credit to him for everything he has done.

Speaking to The Guardian at the start of the year, Arter paid tribute to his partner.

"To this day I don't know how Rachel, physically and emotionally, dealt with it," he said.

"She stayed there the whole night knowing she was still going to have to give birth naturally to our baby who hadn't made it. And for her to do that. . . it's the most respect I'll ever have for anyone.

"To have to do that, and the way she dealt with it, was unbelievable and made me have an unconditional love for her."

The Cherries travel to Newcastle United today in 15th position in the table,  eight points clear of the relegation zone.

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