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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Harry Arter ready to make his International mark

Arter has been in great form for Bournemouth this season
Amongst some of the names getting a call up to Martin O’Neill’s side for the first time there was a first ever call up to an Irish squad for 25-year-old Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, who has been rewarded for his fantastic league form that has helped his side to occupy the top spot in the Championship. An international call-up is a big step for the London born player, who qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland through his Grandmother, a step up he both deserves and is ready for.

It hasn't been an easy ride for Arter to get to this point, after starting his career at Charlton an ankle injury saw his career there cut short and then opted to rebuild his career starting at non league Woking, a move that ultimately paid off. In 2010 Eddie Howe decided to take a risk and bring the then 20-year-old to his League one Bournemouth side, a move that has been worth the risk for Howe and Bournemouth with Arter now a mainstay in the Cherries midfield as they look to gain promotion to the Premier League.

This season Arter has been fantastic, in his 40 appearances in all competitions Arter has scored 8 and assisted 3 goals from his central midfield role. He is the definition of a box to box midfielder known for his good defensive play but also most recently he has hit the headlines for two cracking finishes in his past two games. He comes into the International squad in a great vein of form after a man of the match performance against promotion rivals Middlesbrough, a game in which he scored one of the aforementioned crackers as Eddie Howe’s side recorded a 3-0 win.

Martin O’Neill has a real dilemma on his hands when considering whether or not to throw Arter straight into the team in such a big game against Poland. It is unlikely that O’Neill would take the gamble and give him his debut in such a vital game but in the long term Arter could well be a long term solution to the Republic of Ireland’s midfield mediocracy. In the qualifying campaign so far the only central midfield player who has registered goal was Wes Hoolahan who was playing in a more attacking role when he scored a goal. Arter has proven in the Championship this season that he can get a goal and could be exactly what this Irish set-up needs.

Another feature of the Republic of Ireland’s current midfield options is they are very defensively minded, James McCarthy, Glen Whelan, Jeff Hendrick and David Meyler are all very much holding midfield players and although Gibson and Quinn do offer something going forward they are yet to register a goal and have not been overly impressive in their games so far this campaign. James McCarthy when fit is the best midfielder in the Irish squad and with his tendency to stay deep, Harry Arter, being the box to box midfielder he is, could well be the perfect partner for the Everton man.

A big problem for the Republic of Ireland in the campaign so far has been retaining the ball, Darron Gibson is the midfield player with the most passes completed for the Republic with 95. Compare that with group rivals Germany, their top midfielder Toni Kroos has completed 410 passes and compared to this weekends opponents Poland, Grzegorz Krychowiak has completed 224 passes both dwarfing Darron Gibson’s figure. The absence of top midfielder James McCarthy due to injury may reflect the poor passing stats but they are still very worrying. Harry Arter happens to be Bournemouth’s top passer with the highest amount of completed passes for his side in the Championship this season. Arter really seems to be the answer to all the Republic of Ireland’s midfield shortcomings.

The chances of Arter getting the nod on Sunday are short but the Bournemouth man can have a big impact for the Republic in the the rest of the qualifying campaign and beyond that.

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