“I know that his enthusiasm and how meticulous he is with his training regimes is infectious,” former Bournemouth player’s Howe Lowdown

Simon Francis knows all about how good a manager that Eddie Howe is one reckons his old boss at Bournemouth will have no problems coping with the demands of taking over from Neil Lennon at Celtic. Speaking to Sky Sports today the former Bournemouth defender is confident that Howe will be able to handle the pressure of managing Celtic and expects him to be a huge success in the East End of Glasgow.

“It is a huge opportunity for Eddie if that’s his preferred destination, Francis said to Sky Sports. “The time away has done him the world of good. He’s realised he’s now hungry and more determined to go back in.”

And Francis accepts that after punching above his weight at The Cherries, Howe was always going to end up a much bigger club for his next appointment after taking a season out. “And it was always going to be at a bigger club than Bournemouth – no disrespect to the football club. We were punching well above our weight for a number of years.

READ THIS…Eddie Howe, Demands and Good Impressions

Photo by James Marsh

“Eddie was always going to make that step-up to a huge club and, while we were doing well in the Premier League, he was linked with top teams like Tottenham and the England job. And now he’s looking at going in at Celtic.

“It’s hard to say it’s the perfect fit as there are no guarantees in football – but for me this would be absolutely ideal for him. It’s the chance to start afresh with time on his side in the summer. He can get to know the players and work out where he needs to strengthen. And then he has to hit the ground running.

“There’s pressure up there, a different kind of pressure than there was down here. He was Bournemouth, an absolute legend as a player and a manager. So it’s a different kind of pressure but one that I think he will relish and be ready for.”

READ THIS…Celtic Football Club Statement

Photo: Simon West

And having played for Howe for so many years, the ex-Bournemouth defender’s thoughts on how the players in the Celtic dressing room with get on with their new manager will be of particular interest to those planning or hoping to stay at the club beyond the end of this season.

“He’s a great man, first and foremost, even off the field,” Francis stated. “He won’t just turn up at the training field and be that manager or coach that you only sometimes see. He’s very personable and welcoming.

“You can always go to talk to him and his door is always open. He’s the best coach or manager that I played with, comfortably. His ability to improve players day in, day out is second to none. He’s the first in in the morning and the last to leave as well.

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Photo: Steven Paston

“He puts in a lot of hours at a high intensity. He always looked to improve the squad that he had and that’s why we reaped the rewards that we did coming from League 1 into the Premier League and still having a similar squad.

“We had to buy into that as players and work hard but he was the catalyst for that. He had that air about him on that training ground that made you want to improve. He will be an excellent fit at Celtic.

“I know that his enthusiasm and how meticulous he is with his training regimes is infectious. I can imagine the players at Celtic would get on board instantly with that.”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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