GRAHAM Baker – the man who helped revive Harry Arter’s career – says the Cherries star is “technically the best player I have ever witnessed”.

Baker, Arter’s manager at non-league Woking, played alongside the likes of Alan Ball, Matthew Le Tissier, Kevin Keegan and Steve Williams during two spells with Southampton.

The midfielder also made more than 100 appearances for Manchester City and was capped twice by England under-21s.

Arter will tomorrow hope to help the Republic of Ireland win a place at the World Cup finals in Russia – almost eight years to the day since he lined up for Baker’s Woking in a 0-0 draw at Weymouth in Conference South.

The 27-year-old played a starring role as the Boys in Green held Denmark to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their play-off in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Capped 10 times by his adopted country, Arter was rescued from the football scrapheap by Baker and assistant Jimmy Dack after he had been released by Charlton as a teenager.

Baker told the Daily Echo: “He was a wonderkid at Charlton but, unfortunately, he sustained an Achilles injury which put him out of the game for a while.

“They made a decision to let him go and a number of clubs wanted him. We were fortunate. We convinced him we would get him back in the league in a short space of time and it happened within one season.

“I played with some superstars in my time but, technically, he was the best I ever witnessed – to coach, to manage and to play with.

“He was two footed and didn’t even know himself whether he was right or left footed, he was that good.

“He would take corners from both sides and with both feet and it was impossible to say which was best because he was brilliant with both.

“He was a fiery character and needed to be managed the right way. Hopefully, I played a very small part in his progression.”

Arter spent the 2009-10 season with Woking before a transfer tribunal ordered Cherries to cough up the princely sum of £4,000 to buy him.

Baker, now a security supervisor at Southampton docks, added: “Right from the start, I said we wouldn’t stand in his way when a league club came knocking and we were true to our word.

“At the time, Eddie Howe offered £2,000 and we both knew that was a ridiculous sum. We went to a tribunal and they doubled it to £4,000.

“I know it is easy to say now because he is there but I told everyone at the tribunal that he was a top-level footballer in the making. They all looked at me as if I was an idiot!

“I knew that if he got his head down and worked hard, he would be top-end material. He was a quality player who, the higher he went, the better he would be.

“I knew that if he was fortunate to go to the right club at the right time then he would go on to reach the very top and he has proved that.

“Fair play to Eddie Howe and Bournemouth because he has been managed very well. They are the ones who deserve a lot of credit for his progression.”