REJUVENATED Harry Arter has revealed that it took being sent off to make him forget off-field issues and focus firmly on football.
In a typically frank interview with the Daily Echo, Arter gave a candid insight into how he has established himself as one of Cherries’ leading stars.
The talented midfielder insisted that he felt a stronger person after overcoming some personal matters to begin fulfilling his rich potential.
He said his “defining moment” arrived when he was red-carded for the first time in his career during Cherries’ draw with Preston in August.
The 22-year-old, an exceptional performer since being restored to the Cherries starting line-up by Eddie Howe, believes the experiences of recent months helped him recognise what he needed to do.
Arter told the Daily Echo: “At the start of the season, not that I didn’t have a good start, but there were off-the-field matters that probably influenced my life a little bit too much.
“It probably just fitted in that when the gaffer came back, I had finally dealt with all my off-the-field matters.
“I always felt that I had been capable of doing what I am at the moment.
“I know I have probably had criticism from some fans and some people but that has only ever made me want to prove them wrong rather than setting me back.
“The gaffer has given me a lot of confidence. He was the one who brought me to the club and when he came in, he put me straight back in the team. I just want to repay him for that.
“It is much appreciated that the fans are saying that I am doing well and I am getting good comments from people. I am not going to get ahead of myself or anything like that, I just want to try to make it continue.”
Asked about off-field matters, Arter added: “It was a few personal reasons – nothing major – but I dealt with it in the wrong way and it took a little while for me to get over.
“Once I did, I moved back home with my family and was around the right people. I am back to normal now and I feel as good as I ever have.
“At the time, it seemed hard, but now it has made me a lot stronger and made me realise what my goal is and that is to become the best possible player I can.
“When I got sent off against Preston, it finally hit me that I needed to concentrate on my football. That was a defining moment for me and it made me realise what I had.
“Since I have come back from that, I feel that I have done really well in the games.”
Arter last month saw his form rewarded when Cherries handed him a new contract until the summer of 2015.