Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was always destined for the top, says Burnley midfielder Jack Cork

Clarets midfielder Jack Cork has played with and under Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:00 pm
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Eddie Howe (R) the newly appointed manager of Burnley looks on from the stands with his assistant Jason Tindall during the npower Championship match between Burnley and Queens Park Rangers at Turf Moor on January 15, 2011 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

And he admits he saw the signs early on that he was going to become one of the best managers in the country.

Howe was playing at centre back for the Cherries when a 17-year-old Cork joined Bournemouth from Chelsea in 2006/07, enjoying two spells on loan.

Four seasons later, Howe became Burnley boss, with Cork in his second stint on loan at Turf Moor.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United is brought down by Jack Cork of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Newcastle United at Turf Moor on December 14, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Cork was hugely impressed in his brief time under Howe, who would return to Bournemouth in October 2012, leading the club to two promotions and a place in the Premier League for the first time.

The club are in their fifth-successive season at this level now, sand Cork said: “I had two loan spells there when I was 17, I went with Ryan Bertrand, and I loved it there, the club was in League 1 at the time, with Kevin Bond, and I think they ended up going down before coming back up again.

“Eddie, who I played with then, managed me at Burnley as well.

“You know when someone is just hungry to do well, and wants to chase that dream, and I could see that when I was with him.

“I’m happy he’s managed to get to a stage where he’s being linked with a lot of top clubs – getting a club like Bournemouth to the Premier League and keeping them there is some achievement, and getting them stronger is even harder.”

But what was it about Howe that marked him out as one to watch?: “He was here for a few months when I was on loan and did a lot of stuff one on one with players, trying to develop them individually, and bring them on.

“He looked like he was going to do well then.

“He wanted to work with younger players and bring them up, teach them the way he wanted to play and get them believing in him, and certain things...he’d pull me to one side in training sessions and say ‘this is what I want you to do’ etc

“I think his man-management was great, and I think you can see that with the detail he goes into to get things ready.

“Some of the lads he signed here did brilliantly, and if you look at some of the lads he’s signed at Bournemouth, that have stayed with him, Surman, Gosling, the back four virtually, the strikers, Callum Wilson and Josh King – he’s got the best out of some good players.”

Cork only played nine games in total for Bournemouth, over both spells, but it was his first taste of first team football, having come through the youth system at Stamford Bridge, and Cork added: “I couldn’t be any more grateful to the club for the opportunity they gave me, at the age I was.

“Going there as a young boy was exactly what I needed, and the club were spot on with me.

“The stadium’s not changed much, I think they’ve built a brand-new training ground, but I’m sure the club hasn’t changed much from then in that respect, a nice, family club with good people who give everything for the club. It’s a club that deserves to be where it is over the last few years.”

But Cork will be hoping to help Burnley complete a hat-trick of victories at what is now the Vitality Stadium, with the Clarets having triumphed on their last two visits.

The Clarets won 2-1 in November 2017, as chants of “We’re all going on a European tour” started to become less tongue in cheek and a little more serious.

Then in April, with Burnley’s Premier League status still not secure, Burnley were able to breathe a little easier after a 3-1 victory, coming from behind to win.

Cork was delighted to climb to 12th on Saturday after the 1-0 win at home to Newcastle, and is eager to kick-on on the south coast: “To be on 21 now with two games before halfway, is great for us.

“We just need to keep trying to pick up as many points as possible.

“We have some good games, we need to keep pushing.

“It’s so tight, if you stay out of the relegation zone by six, seven points, you can be close to the top six – it’s ridiculously close. It will take a couple more months to establish where everyone is going to be, I imagine.”