Eddie Howe credits England international with helping Lewis Cook get call-up

2018-03-17 00:51:15

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has credited Jack Wilshere with helping Lewis Cook break into the England squad.

Uncapped Cherries midfielder Cook has come into World Cup contention after being called up for the forthcoming friendlies with Holland and Italy.

Wilshere, who was also named in Gareth Southgate's latest squad, played alongside Cook at the Vitality Stadium last year during a season-long loan spell from Arsenal .

And Howe believes 21-year-old Cook learnt plenty from the experience.

"Watching Jack was very beneficial for him," replied Howe when asked about Wilshere's influence.

"I think last year we had an incredible pool of centre midfielders to pick from, Jack of course being at the centre on that.

"I think they are very similar type players.

"There are parallels to draw between the two, they're both dynamic players, creative players, they've got an eye for a pass."

Cook, who will be in Premier League action at home to West Brom on Saturday, was a peripheral figure on the south coast last season following his move from Leeds in the summer of 2016.

He made just six league appearances, with the likes of Wilshere keeping him sidelined.

However, after captaining his country's Under-20 team to World Cup success, he has blossomed this year and is set to become the first Bournemouth player to represent England at senior level.

International football could potentially put him on the radars of bigger clubs, but Howe insists he has no concerns about his players being transfer targets.

"I don't look at that as a negative, to be honest," said Howe, when asked if England recognition could prompt interest in Cook.

"I don't think you can consume yourself worrying about things you can't control.

"A lot of our players have admirers from other clubs, I see that as a positive.

"Ultimately it will be up to us to decide what we do with our players."

While Cook was selected for England duty, Bournemouth forwards Jermain Defoe and Callum Wilson were overlooked.

Veteran Defoe, who has won 57 caps, can have little argument at being left out following a frustrating season in which he has managed just three goals, but Cherries top-scorer Wilson does perhaps have reason to be disappointed.

He has registered seven league goals since overcoming a second serious knee problem and was touted as a potential attacking option for Southgate, particularly with star striker Harry Kane unavailable due to injury.

Howe has urged 26-year-old Wilson to focus on becoming prolific at club level and forget about international football for the time being.

"I'm sure what's in Callum's mind is to score goals for us. And if he scores goals for us and we win games then everyone benefits and of course his profile is raised," said Howe.

"I think our players' only focus should be on our next game and everything else beyond that takes care of itself."

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