'He's a huge part of our plans', Bournemouth's Howe on Afobe transfer links

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The Cherries boss admitted that the DR Congo international is an integral part of his plans dismissing speculations linking him away from the club

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has said that Benik Afobe remains a vital part of his plans at the club amid transfer speculations.

Since the arrival of Jermain Defoe, the 24-year-old has had llimited game time making six appearances, four as a substitute for the Cherries in the English topflight.

And Howe has insisted that the forward, who notched six goals in 31 league outings last season, remains a huge part of his plans while expressing satisfaction after his hat-trick in the club U23 encounter against Norwich City.

Afobe 16/5 to score v Spurs

"I don't know how many appearances Benik has this season but he has been involved in most games. He is a huge part of our plans," Howe told Bournemouth Echo.

"You always want your players to show the attitude that they want to achieve and I've got no problem with any player saying they want to play in any game.

"I was really pleased Benik got his reward with the hat-trick [against Norwich U23] and it was a good night for him," he continued.

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"I would like to think every player is enjoying their time here. There are challenges for every player as I can only pick 11 and I have a squad of 20-odd players, so there are going to be a lot of disappointed players who aren't on the pitch.

"But then it's about the environment you create around that. How are we looking after our players? Are we doing the right things? Can we improve their careers even if they are not starting games on a regular basis?

"We try to do that. It is a different thing to balance because, ultimately, in my position you want to create a winning team but you also want every player to reach their full potential under your guidance," he concluded.

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