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Man-of-the-match Harry Arter gives Martin O'Neill food for thought

The Ireland international impressed in Bournemouth’s clash with Spurs.

Source: Football Interviews/YouTube

HARRY ARTER GAVE Martin O’Neill food for thought with an impressive display in Bournemouth’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham today.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who was previously an injury doubt ahead of the game, was named man of the match as he helped combat Tottenham at the Vitality Stadium this afternoon.

The display will have not gone unnoticed by Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, with Arter expected to feature in Ireland’s squad for the vital World Cup qualifier against Austria next month.

Arter has yet to make a competitive appearance for Ireland, though injuries have limited his opportunities at international level in recent times.

The London-born midfielder was in strong contention for a place in Ireland’s 23-man Euro 2016 squad, but a thigh injury suffered in training put paid to his hopes of making the plane to France.

Arter was an unused sub for Ireland’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier away to Serbia last September, while another injury meant he missed subsequent qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova.

The Bournemouth star’s performances in the Premier League this season have been consistently impressive to the point where he was mistakenly touted for an England call-up by Jeff Stelling and Paul Merson last month.

And with James McCarthy not featuring in Everton’s matchday squad today and the player’s fitness often a concern, Arter could be the man to come in in his place at the heart of Ireland’s midfield.

The signs also suggest that Glenn Whelan could be used more sparingly by Martin O’Neill in this qualifying campaign.

The 32-year-old Stoke midfielder was a virtual ever present in O’Neill’s teams up until recently. He was dropped for the Euro 2016 games against Italy and France, while he also failed to feature from the start against Georgia earlier this month.

O’Neill has often talked of the importance of “energy” in his teams and that quality is exactly what Arter provides, arguably more so than Whelan and McCarthy.

Against Tottenham today, Arter broke up the play superbly and was a big reason why Bournemouth managed to secure a 0-0 draw against high-flying Tottenham.

The Ireland international looked more than a match for Moussa Sissoko and Spurs’ other impressive coterie of players, helping the Cherries to move into the top half of the table in the process.

Arter was also involved in a controversial moment, when Sissoko appeared to elbow his opponent as he attempted to retrieve the ball for a throw-in.

The Bournemouth star played down the incident afterwards, however, suggesting the France international’s actions were accidental, while paying tribute to Tottenham.

“They are an unbelievable side and worked ever so hard, we had to match that today. For a 0-0 it was great game to watch,” he said.

We knew they have a fantastic team, they have not lost in the league and you can see why. We had a gameplan.

“(Sissoko) said afterwards he caught me by accident. He is not that sort of player.”

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Paul Fennessy

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