AN international break can be the ideal chance to unwind briefly during an intense Premier League campaign.

Cherries’ players were given a few days off to reflect and recharge following defeat at Newcastle United last time out, before returning to work ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Wolves at Vitality Stadium (3pm).

For centre-back Steve Cook, he used the opportunity to return to his roots in East Sussex to watch hometown team Hastings, where he holds a role as academy ambassador, beat Phoenix Sports 3-1 in Isthmian League South East. And the recent break in fixtures has also undoubtedly given Cook the opportunity to tackle another of his passions – Football Manager.

The Sports Interactive and SEGA classic released its 2020 edition of the addictive game this week, but FM fan Cook began playing earlier this month having downloaded the pre-release version.

The 28-year-old, who has made steps towards his real-life coaching badges with his UEFA B licence, says he has considered the possibility of becoming a manager in the future.

He told the club’s website: “Whether I want to be a coach, manager or scout, I don’t know. I just want to have everything there so I’m ready if the opportunity arises.

“Hopefully I’ve got six, seven, eight years left in the game. If I’m still here (at Cherries), hopefully they would offer me a job!”

But for now, Cook can try his hand in the virtual world. He began his quest for FM 2020 glory by snapping up one of his own Cherries team-mates in a battle to avoid League One relegation.

Quizzed on how his Football Manager 2020 career had begun, Cook told the Daily Echo: “Alright. I started as Bolton.

“I fancied a change. I brought Jack Simpson in, so hopefully he can do a little bit for me.

“I was Villa last time and then ended up Real Madrid manager so, you know.”

Asked if he had signed himself on the game, Cook added: “No, I’m not good enough!

“I think I’m a hard player to get out of Bournemouth, so I left myself to see what I can do in my Football Manager career.”

Cook says “a few” more players in the Cherries squad are also invested in the game, but he admits he did have to bring a halt to his time spent on Football Manager 2019.

“I stopped playing because it kind of took over my life a bit,” he said.

“I’ve come out now and given it a bit of a go and it’s enjoyable. It’s always nice, it takes my mind off this (real) sort of football.”

Cook joked: “I might have to get back to my family soon. They weren’t happy when I moved to Bolton!”

Keen gamer Cook is not restricted to Football Manager, posting a photo on his Instagram earlier this season of a smashed console controller following a disappointing session of another popular title.

“Yeah, I’ve shelved FIFA for now,” he smiled. “I’ve had to stop playing FIFA. I’ve moved onto Call of Duty, so I can take my aggression out on that!”