CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe is convinced Eunan O’Kane’s time will come on the international stage, providing he continues to maintain his impressive club form.

O’Kane, who has excelled for Cherries in the Championship this season, will have a watching brief when the Republic of Ireland host Serbia in a friendly in Dublin tomorrow.

The midfielder, who had been on stand-by for friendlies against Latvia and Poland in November, was not included when new boss Martin O’Neill announced his first squad last month.

Capped by the Republic at under-21 level, O’Kane has turned in a series of eye-catching displays this season and returned to the Cherries squad on Saturday after recovering from a hip injury.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “Eunan has been excellent for us. He really has developed and has been a key figure for us this season. He is very good technically and tactically and makes such good decisions for a young guy. He is a very brave player so we are really pleased to have him with us.”

Asked whether he felt O’Kane was close to breaking into the Republic squad, Howe replied: “What they decide to do, they decide to do. If he carries on playing like he has and continues to improve like he has then, yes, without a doubt.

“He is still a really good age and young enough, I believe, to have a big impact on the international stage. But it is very much out of his hands and all he can control is how he performs for us.”