The vacant manager’s job at Celtic would be “absolutely ideal” for Eddie Howe and he would embrace the different pressure, says former Bournemouth captain Simon Francis.
Howe left Bournemouth almost a year ago and Celtic have made contact with him as they continue their search for a replacement for Neil Lennon.
He is the club’s first choice after positive talks and Howe is understood to be considering a number of options as he prepares to return to football.
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Francis, who spent eight-and-a-half years on the south coast playing a key role in the Bournemouth’s rise to the Premier League and five-season stay in the top flight, was make skipper by Howe in 2016 and he believes his former manager has all the attributes necessary to make a success at Parkhead.
“It is a huge job and a huge opportunity for him if it is his preferred destination,” Francis told The Football Show.
“I think the time away has done him the world of good. I think he’s realised that he’s now hungry and more determined to go back in and it was always going to be a bigger club than Bournemouth. That’s no disrespect to the football club but we were punching well above our weight for a number of years in the Premier League.
“He was always going to make that step up to a huge club. It’s hard to say the perfect fit because there are no guarantees in football of course but for me it will be absolutely ideal, the chance for him to start afresh.
“He will have time on his side in the summer and pre-season to get to know the players and work out where he needs to strengthen or where he already has really good attributions in that squad.
“And then he has to hit the ground running of course. There’s pressure up there, a different kind of pressure than there was down here.
“He was Bournemouth, he was an absolute legend for the football club as a player and a manager so it’s a different type of pressure but one I think he’s going to relish and be ready for.
“He’s a great man first and foremost, he’s not just going to turn up on the training field and be that manager or coach that sometimes you see. He is a very personable, he’s welcoming, you can go and see him with any kind of off-field problems you may have.
“He’s very open, his door is always open and that’s just talking about him without being a coach. He’s the best coach and manager I’ve played with easily, comfortably and his ability to improve players day in day out is second to none.
“He’s the first in in the morning, he’s the last to leave as well. He puts in a lot of hours at high intensity and he’s always wanting to improve the squad that he has and that’s why we reaped the rewards that we did coming from League one and still having a similar squad in the Premier League for a number of years.
“Yes, we had to buy into it and work hard ourselves but he was the catalyst for that. He put that on for us and have that air on the training field to want to improve and he was great at that and for me he will be an excellent fit there.”
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