EDDIE Howe says Lewis Cook’s return to full training has been “a big lift” for everyone at the club.

The midfielder is closing in on a first-team comeback having been missing since December following surgery to repair damage on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, suffered in a clash against Huddersfield Town at Vitality Stadium.

Cherries hope to welcome the England under-21 ace back into the side soon after the international break having returned to full training towards the end of August.

A video on afcbTV showed the Cherries players welcome Cook back into the group with a round of applause on his first day of training and Howe says his return has been a boost.

The Cherries boss told the Daily Echo: “The lads are very good in that respect. They all love Lewis as a lad.

“I think they’re very keen to see him back playing and enjoying himself again, so he’s got a lot of support here at the football club from the players, staff and I know the fans as well how highly they rate him.

“It was a big lift to see him back training with us.”

Howe added: “Mentally I think he’s done very well. I think he was pretty low initially, which I think is always going to be the case because you’ve gone from playing and training every day and thinking about your next game and your next training session to then suddenly facing up to a long time out.

“(It’s) not an easy process to get your head around and fully understand, so I think naturally he was low.

“But then I think once he had the operation and started the first steps back, you saw the positivity and the bounce and the enthusiasm return and all through the latter stages of his recovery, he’s been pushing to get back, very, very eager to return and keep pushing, asking for more, which is a great thing and that’s why he’s such a popular member of the squad.”

Cook, 22, has made 56 appearances for Cherries since joining from Leeds United in 2016.

Following his arrival, competitive Cook captained the England under-20s to World Cup glory in South Korea, adding to his European under-17 championship with the Young Lions in 2014.

“He wants to win everything,” said Howe.

“I think that’s what you want from all of your squad. You want players that whatever they’re doing in their life, if they want to win, they’ll take that onto the training ground and then onto the matchday.

“I think when you’re sitting in my shoes, that’s all you want. You want players to turn up wanting to win every day.”