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AFC Bournemouth: Steve Cook reminds me of Shaun Teale says John Williams
DEAN Court defensive hero John Williams is backing Steve Cook to become a Championship star and believes his performances are evoking memories of Shaun Teale.
Ex-Cherries favourite Williams likened Cook to the cultured former Aston Villa centre-half after giving his verdict on the emerging talent’s promising start to the season.
Cook, 22, has been ever-present in Cherries’ league fixtures and his composed displays have continued to earn rave reviews.
While Williams successfully made the step up in standard after helping Cherries to the Division Three title in 1987, Cook has also showed his skills at the higher level.
And Williams, who regularly watches Cook in his role as BBC Radio Solent’s matchday summariser, has been mightily impressed by the ex-Brighton man.
“When you get to 20 games, you find you have played most of the teams once and it is not quite as daunting as you thought it would be at the start of the season,” explained Williams.
“I think Cookie especially, as the younger of the centre-halves, has found that he is quite capable of playing at this level and, maybe, even a bit more.
“He seems to be growing in confidence and I am sure that has a lot to do with the fact he is alongside Elliott Ward or Tommy Elphick, who have more experience.”
Williams made 37 league appearances when Cherries claimed the highest finish in the club’s history – 12th in Division Two in 1988-89.
He forged a defensive partnership with Teale, who scored four goals in 100 league games before going on to excel in the top flight with Aston Villa. And Williams sees similarities between Cook and his old pal.
Williams said: “When he tackles and when he heads the ball, he looks like it is full on. There are no half measures.
“Jason Pearce springs to mind and that sort of commitment always goes down well with our supporters. I think Cookie is another one of that ilk to go with people we have had down the years.
“Shaun Teale would also spring to mind if I had to liken him to someone. He is the same nature and his distribution is getting better. Straight away, if I had to liken him to someone, Shaun Teale is about as close as you can get from the ones I played with.
“And that is quite a big compliment because Tealey ended up coming very close to playing for England.”
Williams, the last man to score for Cherries at Leicester, will be hoping to see a solid defensive display when he takes his place in the commentary box at King Power Stadium tomorrow.
He added: “Against Nottingham Forest, I thought Cookie was absolutely magnificent. There were a couple of defensive headers from Cookie which were really very brave.
“You also have to mention Tommy. He has been unlucky but I am sure he will have a big part to play as the season goes on. People get used within the squad much more nowadays.”
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