AFC Bournemouth: Skipper Elphick gives his take on the World Cup connections (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth: Skipper Elphick gives his take on the World Cup connections
SKIPPER Tommy Elphick believes the World Cup has been both a feather in the cap for Cherries and a ringing endorsement for the Championship.
Eddie Howe’s men last season pitted their wits against a host of stars to have featured in Brazil with Cherries locking horns with players both competitively and in pre-season.
Elphick was part of the Cherries defence which prevented England’s tormentor Luis Suarez from scoring for Liverpool during an FA Cup fourth round tie in January.
And he also lined up against a star-studded Real Madrid team which included the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Argentinean duo Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria.
Cherries also faced a number of internationals in the Championship, among them Roger Espinoza and Jean Beausejour at Wigan, Bolton’s Lee Chung-yong, Albert Adomah at Middlesbrough and Benoit Assou-Ekotto who was on loan to QPR from Spurs.
Elphick, whose former Brighton team-mate Gonzalo Jara appeared for Chile in the World Cup, told the Daily Echo: “It shows how far we have come to be playing against that calibre of player. It is exciting and great to be pitching yourself in against those types of players.
“We played against a few players to have appeared in the World Cup and next season we could be up against the likes of Gary Medel with Cardiff and Leroy Fer at Norwich who have come down with their respective clubs.
“It is not only a great thing for Bournemouth but it is great for the Championship as well. It is highly regarded and gets a lot of coverage which can only boost the reputation of the league.
“You can’t fail to learn from watching games at the World Cup. Teams like Chile play a different style of football and different formations. The pace of the game is different and you learn how to win a game from watching these sorts of players. They are so clever and they know when to speed up the game and when to slow it down.”
The majority of Howe’s squad are expected to play 45 minutes when Cherries open their pre-season friendly campaign against Danish outfit FC Copenhagen in Austria this evening.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “You can look around the different squads at the World Cup and see quite a few Championship players and quite a few our players would have come up against last season.
“I think it is a really good marker to say that Bournemouth have come such a long way in a short period of time and, sometimes, it is good to look back and think how well our players have done.
“The next challenge for us is to do even better and to see players our lads play against week in, week out do well on the international stage should certainly fill them with confidence.”