AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has expressed his delight in the performances of his players during the recent international break.
Six Cherries players were absent from training as they departed to play with their countries almost two weeks ago, but have now returned to the south coast as domestic football recommences.
Bournemouth’s explosive start to the season, seeing them rise to second in the Championship table, combined with a record-breaking Capital One Cup campaign, has helped players gain recognition from their national squads.
Eddie Howe said: “I think it’s been a good couple of weeks for the individuals and for us as a club, I think it’s been an unusual situation for us to lose so many for a couple of weeks. It’s quite strange I’ve had lower numbers in training, but I’ve been really pleased.”
Callum Wilson and Baily Cargill earned their first call-ups for England U21’s and England U20’s respectively, which were promising signs for Howe.
“Callum and Baily have gone out and done really well for England, Baily scored and performed very well and Callum had a good sub appearance which I watched.”
Cargill’s debut goal at the Goldsands was only enough for a disappointing 2-2 draw against Canada, whilst Wilson came on as a substitute after an hour during England U21’s 3-2 defeat to France.
“Benjamin Buchel kept a clean sheet, Artur Boruc played very well, Ryan Fraser with his Scotland performances, it’s been very good.”
On-loan goalkeeper Artur Boruc was an unused substitute during Poland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia, but played the full game in their 2-2 draw against Switzerland, with Boruc’s acrobatic save producing one of the highlights.
South African striker Tokelo Rantie also shone during the break, scoring a total of four goals to help his country qualify for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, taking place between 17 January and 8 February 2015.
Rantie, who has struggled for a consistent place in Eddie Howe’s team, scored a brace against Nigeria, as well as securing South Africa’s qualification with the winning goal against Sudan.
“It’s difficult to keep too close an eye on Tokelo with the distance and the time difference but it goes without saying that we follow his progress and are delighted with his goals, delighted with the manner of the goals as well.”
Rantie, who signed for a record £2.5m from Malmö FF last summer, will be creating selection dilemmas for Eddie Howe, due to his recent deadly form, despite not starting a league game this season.
“It just goes to show what Tokelo is capable of and he’s in really good form.”
Howe is now looking forward to getting back on track with Bournemouth: “We’ve got two home games, we’re looking forward to them, they’re going to be both tough in their own right.”