Former Bournemouth captain Simon Francis has claimed that Eddie Howe will be an “excellent fit” at Celtic amid reports he is set to take charge at the Scottish club.
It is understood that Howe is in ongoing talks with the Hoops over becoming Neil Lennon’s permanent successor and that they’re optimistic he could be announced by the end of the week, though he’s unlikely to start until the end of 2020/21.
Despite near-constant links to Championship roles, the 43-year-old has been jobless since leaving the Cherries after their relegation last season.
Francis, who spent eight years playing under Howe and took the captain’s armband during that period, also left at the end of last season.
The defender has now retired and, speaking on the Football Show (via the Sky Sports website), he heaped praise on his former manager and suggested he would be well suited to taking charge at Celtic Park.
He said: “It is a huge job and a huge opportunity for him if it is his preferred destination.”
Francis added: “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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Celtic fans will love these comments from Francis and they’ll likely be echoed by many Bournemouth supporters.
The job Howe did at the Vitality Stadium was phenomenal, not just bringing a club with a fairly small stature from the fourth tier to the Premier League but playing exciting and expansive football on the way.
He didn’t always have a big transfer budget but he helped to elevate players like Francis, who joined while the Cherries were in League One and remained a key figure throughout the 43-year-old’s tenure.
A rebuilding job is needed at Celtic, so a boss that a former captain has labelled the best he’s worked with and someone whose strength is developing and improving players does seem an excellent fit at the moment.