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Why keeping Eddie Howe is the key to unlocking Bournemouth’s full potential

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There was a hint of surprise when Eddie Howe was named the LMA Manager of the Year last May. Not because Howe had not done a terrific job, but it tends to be a top flight manager to pick up the accolade. Many were touting Jose Mourinho for the award after the Portuguese boss led Chelsea to a Capital One Cup and Premier League double. Alan Pardew’s fine work of turning around Crystal Palace’s season and Ronald Koeman’s work at Southampton were also names that had been suggested in the media. But it was Bournemouth’s young manager and former player that led the Cherries to a Championship trophy and Premier League promotion that picked up the same award that the likes of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have done in years gone by.

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Eddie Howe’s and Bournemouth’s relationship is a heart-warming one and one that many young footballers and football fans would dream of. Howe started his professional career at Bournemouth in the mid 1990’s and went on to make more than 250 appearances for the Cherries over three separate spells for the club. He then had some coaching roles with the club’s youth squads before being appointed as first team manager in January 2009. Howe worked wonders with Bournemouth, saving them from relegation despite a 17 point deficit. Howe led the club to promotion to League One before being appointed Burnley manager at the beginning of 2011. His tenure at Turf Moor lasted almost two years and he then returned to Dean Court in October 2012 as manager of Bournemouth. He picked up where he left off and by April 2013, the Cherries had achieved promotion to the Championship. Two years later and his achievement of getting Bournemouth promoted to the Premier League is one of English football’s best stories in recent years. But just how well is last year’s LMA Manager of the Year doing this year?

You only have to go back to October of last year when Howe signed a contract extension with the club to see that he’s doing a fantastic job. It was refreshing to see a newly promoted club have faith, patience and confidence in their manager and offer him a new contract. Too often managers of newly promoted clubs and teams struggling to fight off relegation get shown the door in our top flight. But Bournemouth fans can be happy knowing that whatever happens beyond the end of the season, one of the country’s most talented young managers is committed to the club and the club are committed to him.

Bournemouth currently sit in 16th place and you have to wonder where they’d be if they had their full strength side available. Howe and Bournemouth were ridiculously unfortunate to lose then-record signing Tyrone Mings, one of their marquee signings Max Gradel and young, talented goal scorer Callum Wilson to serious injuries so early on in the campaign. As well as that, their captain Tommy Elphick, who has been a key figure in their recent rise, has also missed the majority of the season so far. It would be quite easy for Howe to place blame for any shortcomings on the injuries to players who undoubtedly would have been key figures for them this season. However, Howe’s mentality has been mirrored in his side’s playing style – positive. Howe has stuck with the brand of football that has seen the Cherries rise from brink of the footballing abyss to the country’s top flight. Their commitment to their attacking style of football has been another refreshing element of Bournemouth’s debut Premier League season.

Howe’s side have picked up some impressive results over the course of the season so far. Their back-to-back victories against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and at home to Manchester United spring to mind. Howe claimed that the club has never and probably will never have a week as great as that one and he’s not wrong. The Cherries didn’t steal two undeserved wins. They thoroughly deserved both victories. They struck a fine balance between attack and defence in both games, and to a man, they were excellent. From the experienced Artur Boruc in goal through to Josh King up front, Howe’s side showed how powerful the spirit and passion of the underdog can be against the big money players of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

If Howe can keep Bournemouth up then you wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a contender again for the LMA Manager of the Year at the end of this season, although you’d think it’d be a tough ask to beat Claudio Ranieri after his great work at Leicester this season. Howe has adapted effortlessly to the Premier League. His side don’t look out of place in the Premier League and have made the step up along with Howe. The recent rise of Bournemouth is a fantastic story and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. The club are showing their ambition of staying in the league and pushing on with their recent transfer business. Highly rated young Argentine Juan Iturbe has swapped Roma for Bournemouth on loan until the end of the season with the potential of a permanent deal in the summer. Bournemouth also look poised to smash their transfer record again this season with the reported £10m transfer of Benik Afobe believed to be imminent.

The club are showing their ambition to stay in the country’s top flight and consolidate their position for years to come with a young manager with an infectious passion for the club, an attractive brand of football and some seemingly shrewd transfers. And you’d have to argue, as long as they can keep hold of Howe, their ambitions can certainly become a reality.

Featured image: All rights reserved by dan.westwell

Dan is a Journalism student at UWE and is an aspiring football journalist. His first ever football match was Southampton's 3-2 win over Leeds in 2003 and he has been a Saints fan ever since.

Bournemouth

Can Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe become Everton’s next ‘David Moyes’?

Eddie Howe could follow in the footsteps of former Toffees boss David Moyes.

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Eddie Howe
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On Wednesday night, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side were unlucky to fall to a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, as the Premier League 11th ranked club gave the Red Devils a torrid time.

The remarkable success of the young English manager at Dean Court bears an uncanny resemblance to the career path of David Moyes. Just like Moyes, Howe would be a perfect fit at Goodison Park.

In 1998, Moyes began his managerial career at the tender age of 34 at Preston North End, who were then struggling at the foot of the third division of English football. The Scot proceeded to engineer a fantastic turnaround at the club, avoiding relegation in his first season and achieving promotion just two years later.

Moyes brought Preston within inches of promotion to the Premier League the very next season, but the Lilywhites were defeated in the play-off final by Bolton.

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League

(Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

In 2002, the Merseyside club came knocking, signing Moyes in March with the club in the relegation dogfight. The Glaswegian kept the Toffees up that season, and the rest is history.

11 years at Goodison Park brought unprecedented success, with Champions League qualification, a string of top-seven finishes, and even finishing above dreaded rivals Liverpool on occasion.

Just like Moyes, Eddie Howe started his career in coaching in his early thirties, and has enjoyed immense success in lifting a lower-league club up the English league system.

Howe took over at Bournemouth when he was 31, steering them clear of the League 2 relegation places in 2009, gaining promotion to League 1 in 2010, going up to the Championship in 2014, and reaching the Premier League in 2015.

If anything, Howe has experienced more success than Moyes before joining Everton, as his Bournemouth side have tremendously overachieved in the top flight and look set to secure their Premier League status for the third consecutive year.

Everton would do well to acquire the services of the youthful English manager in the summer, as his arrival just might spark a similar revival to that of David Moyes.

With his incredible knack of getting the best out of his players, Howe would revitalise the Toffees and breath fresh life into a directionless club; just like the Scot did 16 years ago.

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Bournemouth

Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook looks destined for a top-four club

The 21-year-old has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad as a reward for his recent form.

Rob Meech

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His form has largely gone under the radar, but Lewis Cook’s England call-up for the prestige friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy has brought him fully into the public consciousness.

The Bournemouth midfielder has been rewarded for his eye-catching performances since establishing himself as one of the first names on Eddie Howe’s team-sheet.

Keeping the likes of Harry Arter out of the starting XI, Cook has become a fans’ favourite at the Vitality Stadium.

With each appearance, the 21-year-old looks increasingly at home in the top-flight and is growing in maturity.

Cook had been enlisted as cover by Gareth Southgate during last November’s friendlies but didn’t feature. This time, however, he is in the 27-man squad on merit alone.

Despite being a newcomer, Cook has international pedigree.

He captained England at the Under-20 World Cup and followed Bobby Moore as only the second Englishman to lift a global trophy when the Three Lions defeated Venezuela in South Korea.

His progress has been tracked by Southgate, who wants to build a pathway from the age groups to the senior team.

It is a model that has proved successful in Germany, whose 2014 World Cup winners featured a nucleus of the dominant under-21 outfit.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Southgate has made it clear that, ideally, he wants to pick those who are performing regularly for their clubs.

With an increasingly shallow pool of players to choose from, this is not always possible.

But for the likes of Cook and James Tarkowski of Burnley, their call-ups are proof that you do not have to play for a so-called ‘big club’ to receive England recognition.

It gives hope to all those who harbour international ambitions.

Cook arrived in Dorset with high expectations after joining from Championship outfit Leeds United in the summer of 2016, but his maiden season was bedevilled by difficulties.

He lined up for his competitive debut in the 2016/17 Premier League curtain-raiser against Manchester United, only for a persistent ankle injury to sideline him for seven months.

He featured only sporadically at the back end of the campaign.

This season began similarly frustratingly for Cook, who failed to make the match-day squad for the opening fixtures.

However, he made his first Premier League start of the term against Leicester City last September and never looked back.

First, in partnership with Andrew Surman and latterly alongside Dan Gosling, it is no coincidence the Cherries’ revival has occurred with Cook at the heart of the action.

He has been instrumental in their improvement.

Cook’s style has been compared to Jack Wilshere, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth.

Howe has credited the Arsenal man with aiding his protege’s development, culminating in this England selection.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Like Wilshere, Cook could not be described a prolific goalscorer. In fact, he has netted only two goals in 120 career appearances.

Where he shines is in possession of the football.

Linking defence with attack, Cook’s vision and ability to execute a pass are stand-out qualities. He rarely gives the ball away and always wants to move the play forward.

Occasionally he picks the wrong option, but at such a tender age mistakes are inevitable.

Despite the microscopic scrutiny involved in the top-flight, he can never be accused of hiding.

Cook always demands the ball from his team-mates, no matter how well he is playing.

Speculation has risen that Cook might be a target for some of the Premier League’s elite clubs, most notably Liverpool, who were reported to be targeting him to replace the Juventus-linked Emre Can.

Whether this interest materialises remains to be seen, but should Cook’s form continue then Howe may face a fight to keep his prized asset on the south coast.

There is little doubt from those who watch him regularly that Cook has the potential to reach the very top.

England recognition – and a spot at this summer’s World Cup – will only accelerate his rise.

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Bournemouth

Junior Stanislas winner cliches Premier League survival for Bournemouth

The Cherries came from behind to beat West Brom on Saturday.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Bournemouth fought back from 1-0 down to secure a vital three points against West Bromwich Albion, as they took a huge step towards Premier League survival.

It wasn’t the best performance from the Cherries, but one player to standout was Junior Stanislas. The winger has been in good form during recent weeks and scored the winning goal on Saturday with a superb free-kick from range.

The 28-year-old is reaching the peak years of his career and he will want to be a regular starter in the top-flight. Bournemouth are a good fit for him, as there are no superstars and the team is greater than the sum of its parts. There are sprinklings of quality throughout and Stanislas is one of the players that can produce moments of brilliance on the pitch.

During the second half of the season, he has been one of the key attacking elements for Bournemouth. He has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League matches, but the one on Saturday was the most important of those as it was directly responsible for the win.

There were only minutes remaining and the chance came from a free-kick that was a long way out. Stanislas showed great confidence to take a shot and the resulting goal will go down as one of the best in his career to date.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

The overall performance from Stanislas was a positive one, as he worked hard and contributed in both halves of the pitch from the left wing. The 28-year-old completed two dribbles and made one key pass during the contest, while his pass completion rate was 80%.

He was effective in possession and rarely gave the ball away, which aided the team’s attacking play. In addition to his goal, the winger offered a threat for the entire game and had four attempts on goal. This was the joint-most of any player on the pitch.

Eddie Howe demands total commitment from his players and everyone is expected to contribute to the defensive effort. Stanislas certainly did that on Saturday as he completed both of his attempted tackles. It is important for the wingers to work back and help their full-backs in a 4-4-2 formation. Both Stanislas and Jordon Ibe did their bit for the team.

With their victory over West Brom, Bournemouth moved into the top ten of the Premier League and sit on 36 points. That should put an end to their relegation worries, as they are eight points clear of the bottom three with only seven matches left to play. Although the Cherries have been in the top-flight for three seasons now, it remains a huge achievement to stay in the division given the size of the club.

The success has been due to the team spirit and players stepping up to the highest level. Stanislas is a great example of that, as he has spent the majority of his career in the Football League. He helped Bournemouth get promoted and has continued to improve since the club arrived in the Premier League. Now he is one of the Cherries’ best players and moments like his goal on Saturday reflect that.

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