EDDIE Howe revealed he was “honoured” to give Nathan Ake the captain’s armband for Tuesday night’s trip to Selhurst Park and believes he has the attributes to become a permanent Cherries skipper in the future.

Ake led the side out against Crystal Palace for the first time in the Premier League, with club captain Simon Francis on the bench and vice-captain Andrew Surman as well as regular stand-in Steve Cook missing the trip due to injury.

And while the evening did not turn out as planned with Cherries losing 1-0, a fourth defeat on the spin, Howe was pleased with what he saw from the Dutchman.

Discussing Ake’s performance as skipper, boss Howe told the Daily Echo: “I thought he did really well.

“Nath, for me, it’s a natural progression in his career.

“He is a leader. He leads by how he conducts himself, how he trains, his professionalism. All the players respect him immensely.

“I was really pleased and honoured to give him the armband.”

Asked if he sees the 24-year-old as a future club captain at Cherries, Howe added: “Without a doubt. He’s got those qualities.

“We need 11 leaders on the pitch. I know that’s a bit of a cliché but it’s so true, especially in a moment when you are not playing particularly well.

“That’s when you need everyone to step up and give an extra five per cent.

“I thought Nath played well again on Tuesday, he’s a model of consistency. We need other players to join him.”

Francis has been the club’s captain since 2016, following Tommy Elphick’s departure to join Aston Villa.

The 34-year-old was introduced as a second-half substitute against Crystal Palace and he also made a strong case for Ake to one day succeed him as skipper.

Francis told the Daily Echo: “Nath will be the first to admit that he’s not the most vocal. He’s a quiet lad.

“He’s probably the nicest lad I’ve come across in football.

“But he leads by example and that’s what I mean about leaders, you don’t have to do it with your voice. You can wear the armband and lead by example by not being vocal but with your actions and he certainly does that and that’s why the manager chose him and I can certainly see him being a captain in the future for this club.”

He added: “We’ve got a lot of young players. The manager is always going on about how we need leaders in the team and that’s everybody, it’s not just the captain or vice captain who have been here a long time.

“Anybody can be a leader, anyone can lead by example whether it’s with your actions on the pitch or whether you’re speaking.”