Steve Fletcher rates Eddie Howe as the best young manager in England by “a million miles” and believes it will take an “incredible” offer to prise him away from Premier League-bound Bournemouth.
Howe has worked wonders at Dean Court, taking the south-coast club from the brink of dropping out of the Football League to sealing promotion to the top flight in the space of six years.
The 37-year-old kept Bournemouth up on the last day of the 2008-09 season, despite the fact that they were hit with a 17-point deduction for going into administration and then masterminded two promotions either side of a short spell at Burnley.
Howe’s stock has risen even further with Bournemouth having all-but sealed a place in the Premier League place for the first time in their history.
Bournemouth legend Fletcher knows all about the qualities Howe possesses, having been a team-mate and played under him before taking a role as head of uk recruitment at the club.
The former striker, who is also a club ambassador at Bournemouth, expects Howe to attract plenty of interest as the club prepare for life in the big time, but is optimistic he will stay put.
Fletcher, who made over 700 appearances for the club, told Perform: “Eddie is obviously going to be in demand, he will be a wanted man.
“We obviously hope he will stay here, you just never know it football and you can never say never. But he loves the club and it was his goal to get the club into the Premier League.
“He is the best young manager in England by a million miles and I will be praying he stays here, but you just never know.”
He added: “The job Eddie has done has been miraculous.
“Keeping us up, then getting promoted into League One and then the Championship. We could never have imagined being in the Championship, let alone the Premier League.
“He is the ultimate pro, his work ethic is incredible and he is so meticulous with his approach. His enthusiasm rubs off on everyone, he always comes up with new ideas on the training ground and he has been relentless in his pursuit of getting Bournemouth to the Premier League.
“He is second to none, you are in awe of what he does and the way he goes about it.”
Bournemouth could still win the Championship title, as they trail Watford by a point heading into their final game of the season at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
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