What Gareth Southgate told Lewis Cook to help him through Bournemouth injury hell
Lewis Cook has revealed how a personal intervention from Gareth Southgate helped get him through his injury hell.
Bournemouth star Cook finally returned to action to play a key role in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Everton after 285 days out with cruciate knee ligament damage.
And the England midfielder can’t wait to get back up to speed for the Cherries so can try to force his way back into Southgate’s plans for Euro 2020.
Cook, 22, said: “I’ve spoken to him once or twice and he’s wished me all the best. They’re doing really well which is good.
“Was it difficult to watch because I was injured? Maybe. It’s great what they’re doing now. There are so many young players playing. It’s great to see.
“To see them all doing so well in the Nations League as well has been great. It’s been quite hard but I think it’s been great to see.
“I’ve just got to focus on my club at the moment. I’ve played one game back so I’ve got to maintain it, keep improving and trying to enjoy it. I’m always trying to improve.”
Cook has had plenty of support from family and friends – among them Arsenal defender Rob Holding, who also suffered a knee ligament injury.
He said: “I spoke to Rob Holding a bit from Arsenal because he got injured the same day as me.
“I had Call (Callum Wilson), he’s been through a lot. We had Franno (Simon Francis) on the treatment table too, so we bounced off each other, what we were feeling.
“Franno has been massive to me. It’s been the same stage, the same ups and downs. Helping me through that has been massive. He told me to keep working hard.”
Cherries boss Eddie Howe insisted no player has ever worked harder to return than Cook, who spent time in specialist rehab camps in Qatar and Philadelphia on the long road back.
Cook said: “It’s been a long journey with ups and downs. Hard times. Sometimes I would take my mind off football.
“I went on a rehab holiday to Qatar and Philadelphia. There was a rehab centre in Qatar. It was a good place. It was mainly inside so I didn’t experience the heat!
“Family played a massive part in it as well. Everyone played a little part in the journey. It’s been a massive effort from everyone and helped me.”