AFC Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook’s end to the 2017/18 campaign and the start of the 2018/19 campaign could not be more of a contrast.
Towards the end of last season, Cook was a regular in the Cherries first team, he broke through into the England ranks and won his first cap for the full international squad having previously won the World Cup with the Under 20’s.
He was on standby for the World Cup squad in Russia, but would eventually miss out. Instead, he captained England Under 21’s to success in the Toulon Tournament and signed a new long-term contract at Dean Court until the summer of 2022.
This season, however, he has struggled to break into AFC Bournemouth’s starting XI and at times has been behind Andrew Surman, Dan Gosling and Jefferson Lerma in the pecking order for two central midfield roles.
He has made four Premier League substitute appearances, totalling less than half an hours worth of football. But his lack of action appears to have also had a knock-on effect on his form as he has failed to impress when handed a chance.
That was however until the Football League Cup game against Blackburn Rovers.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told Sky Sports…
“Naturally, he wants to play, any player would say the same. I think if he turns around and says, ‘I’m happy not to play’, there’s a problem…”
“…we’ve had a really good start to the season, it’s been difficult for him to get his opportunity in the Premier League.
“[The Blackburn game] I think is his best performance. I think MK Dons in the previous round, he was maybe over-trying but [on Tuesday] I thought he was very good and he was a key performer to why we played so well.
“I’ve got some tough calls to make for Crystal Palace.”
Cook is head and shoulders over Surman and Gosling in ability and potential. If he’s out of the side due to form, it will not be for long. He’s got and touch and vision the other 2 haven’t. Same goes for Lerma who, for someone playing in a foreign country without a grasp of the language or a full understanding of what the manager needs of him has been excellent. Another player whose sheer ability, touch and vision is there to see. – Join the conversation, click here.