CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe insisted long-serving midfielder Harry Arter was not “out of the picture” when it came to his team selection.

The 28-year-old, who is in his eighth season with Cherries, has not featured in the club’s past seven Premier League games.

He has been left out of Howe’s squads for clashes with Newcastle and Leicester, with Howe confirming after both games Arter had been available and his omission had been for tactical reasons.

Arter has started one top-flight game in 2018. That came when he featured for 71 minutes at Brighton on New Year’s Day before being replaced by Dan Gosling.

His only other first-team appearance this year came in the 3-0 FA Cup third round replay defeat at League One Wigan.

In an interview with the Daily Echo last month, the former Woking star said: “Naturally, when a player of my age is not playing and someone who is desperate and just loves playing football, there comes a question mark over whether long term it is going to be the right place for me.

“Ultimately, if I am not playing, there has to be a change and I am sure the manager would understand that.

“If I don’t play between now and the end of the season and am a continued spectator then, naturally, there would be a discussion.”

Giving an update on Arter’s selection credentials ahead of Sunday’s home game against Tottenham (4pm), Howe told the Daily Echo: “He is not totally out of the picture at all. Harry’s still very much part of our plans.

“I have to make decisions, pick teams, pick squads and Harry’s only focus is to try to get back to his best.

“He has shown a good attitude, there are no problems and he has trained well this week, so we will wait and see.

“Harry has a challenge on his hands to displace Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook, who are performing very well in the team at the moment.

“Of course, then you add in Andrew Surman, Harry himself and Emerson Hyndman, we have a really good group of central midfielders all competing for two spaces.”

Asked whether Arter still had a future at Cherries, Howe replied: “Everyone who is here has a future. They can change their future in the short term or the long term depending on how they train and play.”

Despite his lack of game time, Arter was this week selected in Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad for the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Turkey later this month.

The Cherries boss added: “I haven’t really seen a change in Harry due to the call-up but I’m sure it will give him a lift to know he is in that squad.”

The former Charlton youngster was an unused substitute during Cherries’ 1-0 defeat against Tottenham at Wembley in October.

He played 90 minutes during the goalless draw between the clubs at Vitality Stadium last season.