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AFC Bournemouth: Mixed feelings for Eddie Howe over international calls
CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe admits to having mixed feelings about seeing his players head off on international duty.
Three members of Howe’s first-team squad – Tokelo Rantie, Shaun MacDonald and Ryan Fraser – will be hoping to represent their respective countries during the international break.
Record signing Rantie yesterday embarked on an arduous journey to North Africa to link up with South Africa ahead of their friendly against Morocco in Agadir on Friday.
And while the striker did not join his team-mates for the entirety of their 15-and-a-half hour, three-flight trip from Johannesburg, Rantie will still do his fair share of travelling over the next few days.
The 23-year-old could also be expected to line up in a practice match for Bafana Bafana on Monday before making his way back to England to rejoin Cherries.
Midfielder MacDonald could also be in action during the break after being drafted into the Wales squad for their World Cup double-header against Macedonia and Belgium.
MacDonald, who was forced to miss Cherries’ past two games due to injury, was called up following a spate of withdrawals – one of whom was West Ham loan star Jack Collison.
He could be included when Wales host Macedonia in Cardiff on Friday and in their final qualifier against group leaders Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday.
Teenage winger Fraser also faces a hectic schedule after being included in the Scotland squad for their European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Slovakia and Georgia.
Fraser, who has been in fine form for Cherries, looks certain to start when the Scots host group leaders Slovakia at Saint Mirren Park tomorrow before flying to Tbilisi for Monday’s clash against Georgia.
And with Cherries preparing for tough back-to-back awaydays against Championship high-fliers Nottingham Forest and Leicester, Howe says he will be keeping his fingers crossed for the trio.
He told the Daily Echo: “We will certainly be keeping an eye on them and hoping they all come back safe and sound and in one piece. The rest of the squad will stay and there are things to work on and things to improve on. The win against Millwall set us up nicely for the international break and it was good to go into it in positive spirits.
“For me, the international scene is great for the players and I would always encourage them to represent their country because it is the pinnacle of the game.
“But from my selfish perspective and with my manager’s hat on, I want to keep everyone here where I know they are safe and where I know what work we are doing with them. That would be my preference.”
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