When Lewis Cook broke through into the starting XI at Leeds United it seemed abundantly clear that the enigmatic playmaker was destined to climb to the highest reaches of the game, and a recent interview involving Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser suggests that he made a perfect decision to move to the south coast in 2016.
What’s the word, then?
Fraser has emerged as one of the most outstanding performers outside of the top-six this season, commanding interest from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the process.
The Scotland international has since opened up about his career in a compelling interview with the BBC, talking all things Fraser from his time at Aberdeen, to his dog, to his appreciation of Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth’s boss has showcased a refreshing managerial talent which is seldom found in the modern era, and the journey his side have been on in recent years proves that he is an exceptional coach.
That sentiment is one which Fraser championed during his interview, leaving readers in no doubt about his exceptional ability to maximise the potential of the players who are privileged to work alongside him.
“He makes sure you’re happy at home, makes sure you have everything you need. He has a thing called one-percenters, little things that can make a big difference.
“He did one with me after training a while back and it involved me cutting inside and firing it in the far corner. We practised that a lot. About six weeks later I had four goals from that exact move.
“He’ll make any player better. Doesn’t matter if it’s the best player in the world, he’ll find a way. It might not even be on the ball, it might be off the ball, how you press, how you think.”
Bournemouth move was perfect for Cook
Fraser’s excellent return of seven goals and 11 assists this season, a huge improvement on his return of five goals and three assists from last season, goes to show that Howe is a gifted man manager, while the likes of Callum Wilson and David Brooks, two players who have risen through the Football League to ply their trade in the top-flight, further underline his pedigree.
And this can only be a telltale omen for what’s in store for ex-Leeds man Cook. The exciting teenager consistently wowed the Elland Road faithful during the formative stages of his career, patrolling the midfield with a near imperious swagger and displaying a fearless attitude to scrap for every ball amongst players twice his size.
It rapidly became apparent that it was only a matter of time before he earned his move into the top-flight and the budding England international agreed to sign for the Cherries in a £6.3 million deal before his 20th birthday.
He is still highly regarded at his former club and the vast majority of Leeds supporters will be monitoring his progress with eagle-eyed intrigue and gunning for him to blossom into a regular England international in the future.
A major cruciate ligament injury has blighted the Thorp Arch academy product’s season and his absence has temporarily placed his development on hold, but Fraser’s admission suggests he is in the perfect place to make a stark comeback next season.
That Howe can “make any player better” has been vindicated by the manner in which he has taken Bournemouth from League Two to the Premier League and somehow managed to establish the club as a solid top-flight outfit.
Dramatic individual improvements have strengthened the collective unit and Cook could be the next star to reap the rewards of Howe’s coaching prowess.
Some fans may have questioned Cook’s decision to depart the club at such a young age, but the opportunity to work under a phenomenal an manager was one which was simply too good to refuse.