Bournemouth Echo

Howe backs defender Steve Cook to thrive in latter stages of campaign

Howe backs defender Steve Cook to thrive in latter stages of campaign

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BOSS Eddie Howe has tipped defender Steve Cook to have a big impact on the rest of the season.

The 26-year-old has featured in all but four games in the Premier League, scoring in the win at Newcastle and the 2-2 draw at Brighton.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “He has always been a scorer of big goals and none more so than the Newcastle game. Hopefully, he has big matches to come this season.

“Steve is a big player for us and is one of the leaders in the team.

“He is a big voice in the changing room, a big personality and is maturing very nicely. His career is in a good place and he has had some very good games this season.”

Cook has played a part in four of Cherries' five clean sheets in the top flight.

The former Brighton man has also recorded the most blocks of any of Howe’s squad this season, with 30 in total.

“He has developed the mindset to defend first and protect his goal. He has those old-fashioned defensive values we need,” added Howe.

“Being a very attacking team, I think you need people with the mindset to protect the goal and to want to keep clean sheets.

“He’s a key player for us and we need him to perform at his best.”