CONCERNED manager Eddie Howe admits the international break has not come at a good time for Cherries.

A string of Howe's players, including the likes of Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic and Joshua King, are on duty with their respective countries during the hiatus from Premier League action.

And the Vitality Stadium boss is hoping his players earn on-field action and avoid coming back "a little bit rusty" ahead of Cherries' next game against Tottenham at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, October 14.

Asked if the break had come at the wrong time, Howe said: "Yes, that's my gut feeling. It's not a good international break for us. We would have wanted to build on the positives from the Leicester game.

"The last international break really did hinder us. A lot of players went away and didn't play. That's probably the biggest problem we have.

"They don't play for two weeks, they don't train for two weeks and they come back and look a little bit rusty, so we hope that's not the case this time."

Jermain Defoe has been included in the England squad ahead of the Three Lions' crucial World Cup qualifying clashes with Slovenia and Lithuania.

The experienced striker could become the first Cherries player to win a senior England cap.