Thursday 13 December 2018

Howe praise for Cook after earning ‘historic’ England call

The midfielder has been named in the national team squad after just 28 Premier League appearances.

Lewis Cook
Lewis Cook

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says Lewis Cook is the type of player he loves after the midfielder was called up by England.

Uncapped Cook has been rewarded for his impressive displays this season with a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Holland and Italy.

The 21-year-old struggled for first-team football at the Vitality Stadium last season after moving from Leeds but has since played himself into World Cup contention by becoming a focal point of the Cherries’ team.

Howe thinks the opportunity is fully merited and described it as a proud moment for the south coast club.

“Very, very pleased for him, for his family. It’s a historic moment in his life,” said Howe, whose team host bottom-of-the-table West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday.

“He’s such a level-headed, down-to-earth lad. He’s worked incredibly hard since he’s been here, he’s improved greatly.

“I’m just really pleased that he’s got the recognition his performances deserve.

“He’s one of the last players off the training pitch. We have to tell him to go in. He’s one of those players that always wants to do more, which is the type of player that I love.

“There’s no edge to Lewis, he just wants to become the best player that he can be and he’s on the way to doing that.

“We’re excited and very proud to have him with us and very proud that he’s got the call-up.”

Despite being restricted to just six Premier League appearances during his debut season in Dorset, Cook demonstrated his international potential last summer by captaining England’s Under-20 to World Cup success in South Korea.

He has since become a Bournemouth regular, played five times for his country’s Under-21 side and was added to the senior squad for November’s friendly against Brazil.

Thursday’s call-up was the first time Cook has been named in an initial squad by Three Lions boss Southgate.

He was one of four uncapped players included, alongside Swansea defender Alfie Mawson and Burnley duo Nick Pope and James Tarkowski.

Club manager Howe praised the player’s patience and rapid progression.

“Last year was a difficult one, we signed him and then there was a process of behind the scenes working with him,” said Howe.

“It’s very easy in this day and age to want instant success and instant platform to show what you can do but we felt there was a process and a lot of competition ahead of him.

“But he’s reaped the rewards this year and since breaking into the team he’s got better and better.

“Hopefully it’s the start of an exciting journey with the full (England) team.”

Bournemouth go into the weekend six points above the relegation zone.

Struggling opponents West Brom are eight points adrift of safety and have won just three times this season.

But Howe insists his players are taking nothing for granted.

“The difficulty of this game is the expectation will be on us,” he added.

“I can assure you there will be no complacency within the dressing room, absolutely no chance.”

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