Joshua King had 'difficult couple of days' after talk of Man United return

Joshua King Bournemouth Premier League
Getty Images
Eddie Howe has revealed the forward struggled after a potential move to Old Trafford did not happen in January

Bournemouth striker Joshua King endured a "difficult couple of days" after a potential return to Manchester United failing to materialise, according to Eddie Howe.

United were rumoured to be interested in bringing King back to Old Trafford towards the end of the January transfer window, the club sinking cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

King, 28, was said to be particularly eager to join United, having made two senior appearances for as a youngster and featured prominently under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the club's reserves.

Bournemouth were reported to have rejected United's advances and they signed former Watford striker Odion Ighalo instead, with King apparently left feeling "used", according to the Athletic.

Howe accepts King had a tough time coming to terms with the outcome but has urged the Norwegian to take it as a compliment and not dwell on personal matters as Bournemouth face a relegation tussle.

"That was a difficult couple of days for him," Howe told reporters. "But it's a huge compliment and a huge moment for him, to have Manchester United come in and express an interest in him.

"But he's very focused on our current position and this club. He knows we're in a relegation fight; it's no time for him to focus on himself, he knows that, and he's very much a team player.

"So, he's looking forward to being fit and contributing to our battle."

Howe has confirmed that the forward could return to the fold for Sunday’s clash against Sheffield United along with Jack Stacey. Both have been missing since the 2-0 defeat against Brighton at the end of December and have been absent for seven matches.

Article continues below

“Joshua and Jack have trained this week and are both getting close. We’ll have to make decision if we involve them on Sunday,” he said.

Bournemouth face the Blades in good spirits having won each of their last two Premier League matches, overcoming both Brighton and Aston Villa, pushing them two points clear of the relegation zone.

After their trip to Sheffield, they will enjoy a 13-day break before returning to action with a trip to Burnley on February 22.