SIMON Francis says it would have been “completely natural” for Ryan Fraser to be “thinking about other football clubs” as he enters the final few months of his Cherries contract.

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent last month, Fraser admitted the situation “obviously affected me”, adding “the first four months of the season I wasn’t myself” and “I didn’t play for the team”.

The Scot shone in 2018-19 with seven goals and 14 assists, but has not been able to replicate that form this term. But he insists “I will give everything for the club” for the remainder of the season before his likely departure.

Discussing Fraser’s comments and form this term, skipper Francis told the Daily Echo: “Wee Man sometimes gets a bit carried away in interviews, says things that he probably shouldn’t do, maybe keep under wraps.

“But it’s hard for him. He was so good last season, clubs showing an interest in him and he’s still a young player.

“I’m sure his mind was at times thinking about other football clubs and that’s completely natural with his current situation.”

He added: “I’m really glad that he’s determined now, he’s changed his focus and I think you can see that over the last few games.

“He’s running more than ever, he’s chasing things down, he’s been one of our best players over the last few weeks as well, showing his quality again.

“I’d love him to get back to the form that he was last season and I think he can do that, which is only going to help him.”