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AFC Bournemouth: Rantie's game is not all about goals says Hughes
FELLOW import Richard Hughes insists Tokelo Rantie is under pressure to maintain a high performance level – and not to break his Cherries goal duck.
Hughes says Rantie has shown his quality and class since joining Cherries in a big-money move from Malmo, even if the striker has yet to open his account.
Rantie, who netted 10 times to help Malmo win the Swedish title this season, has said he is unfazed by his Cherries goal drought but knows he must start scoring.
The 23-year-old South Africa international has made seven appearances, including one from the bench, and is again in line to start when Cherries host Bolton tomorrow.
Like Rantie, Hughes, who was raised in Italy, took time to acclimatise to the English game after he had moved from his home in Milan to join Arsenal as a teenager.
Hughes told the Daily Echo: “There are so many different challenges when you move to another country.
“I was 18 when I made the transition and, although I knew a bit about the British game, it was still very difficult.
“Everything changes in your daily routine and that is just inside the game. You spend three or four hours a day at a club and that doesn’t take into account the life changes that moving countries can bring.
“It is easy to lose sight of the fact that the culture in this country is so different to somewhere like Sweden or South Africa. From a player’s perspective, you can tell from watching TK in training and in games that he is an international and has played at a very good level.
“There are some important early signs, especially the way he receives the ball and the way he turns with it. His understanding of the strengths he can bring to the team has also been very noticeable.
“The hardest thing is to integrate into team patterns and set- pieces. Most of us have played under the manager for a long time and we are still learning.
“We have had a head-start on TK but it is still tough for us on a daily basis. Only time will help him get to know his team-mates and his manager. You can see he has a good footballing brain and that is what you need to survive and compete at any level. We have seen more than enough to know he has got what it takes to be a real success.”
Rantie almost scored on his debut after coming off the bench in Cherries’ win over Barnsley and then had an effort ruled out for offside in the defeat by Blackburn.
He won the first of the team’s two penalties at Middlesbrough, he set up Marc Pugh’s goals against Nottingham Forest and Leicester and has also featured three times when Cherries have been reduced to 10 men.
Hughes added: “If you are part of a team which is scoring goals regularly then that should be the basis of which the team and individuals are judged.
“If the team isn’t scoring, the first players supporters look at are the strikers. That has not been the case with us, as our record shows.
“There is no pressure on TK to get his first goal. There is, however, a pressure we all put on one another and ourselves to perform and that is the only important thing.”
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