Eddie Howe opens up on his relationship with Ryan Fraser after Newcastle United reunion
Eddie Howe has addressed his relationship with Ryan Fraser after the pair were reunited at Newcastle United.
Howe today held his first press conference as the club’s new head coach – and the 43-year-old was asked about his relationship with Fraser.
The winger opted not to sign a short-term contract extension at Bournemouth last year despite pleas from then-manager Howe, and he didn’t play in the Premier League’s restart following a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Howe’s side were relegated that summer, and Fraser went on to join Newcastle as a free agent.
Speaking to the Gazette about his decision after joining United in September last year, Fraser said: “If this virus didn’t come, I would have played every game under my contract.
“Everyone’s got their opinions. I respect everyone’s opinion, good or bad. I wasn’t under contract, so I didn’t feel like I should play the games … (in case) I get an injury.
"Obviously, I wanted to help the team. I didn’t want them to go down. I feel like if I’d played, without sounding big-headed or big time, I like to think I would kept us up, which hurts even more.”
Howe, however, insisted that he had a “strong” relationship with the 27-year-old – and added that the events of last year were “in the past”.
“A lot of things that came out that ultimately weren't true,” said Howe. “Me and Ryan always had a very strong relationship.
“You've got to remember I took Ryan from Aberdeen into League One, and we worked together so closely for a number of years to try and get the best out of him – and make him into a Premier League player.
“He was absolutely brilliant. From day one, he really took on board what we were trying to do with him. He worked incredibly hard and he got all the rewards.
“I was disappointed for us with the ending at Bournemouth, but I was disappointed for him, too. That's in the past. The future's the future and I'm delighted to be working with him again.”
Meanwhile, Fraser has pulled out of the Scotland squad for World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Denmark with a calf injury.