Howe hails injured Wilshere for Bournemouth impact
REUTERS - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has praised midfielder Jack Wilshere for his contribution at the club before his season-long loan spell was cut short with a leg fracture during a 4-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Wilshere, who made 27 league appearances for the south coast club this season, is expected to return to training in July for his parent club Arsenal. His current deal at the North London club expires at the end of next season.
Howe has refused to speculate on Wilshere's future despite indicating earlier this month that he would like to sign the 25-year-old England international on a permanent basis.
"I won't speak for Jack but our thoughts are that he made a huge contribution on and off the pitch for us," Howe told a news conference ahead of Saturday's league clash against 19th-placed Middlesbrough at the Vitality Stadium.
"We're very grateful to Arsenal for the loan. He's their player so I won't be disrespectful and talk about the next step.
"You have to remember how young Jack is. Jack has steadily improved physically, it's a minor setback on an encouraging season."
Howe said he is yet to make a decision over the fitness of midfielder Dan Gosling, who has missed the last three games with a calf injury. Midfielder Andrew Surman remains in the treatment room with a long-term knee injury.
"We'll make a late call on him (Gosling), but we've been saying that for the last few weeks now. We can't make any guarantees, as he hasn't done a lot of training," Howe added.
"We're also without Andrew Surman, as well as Jack Wilshere following the confirmation of his injury."
Bournemouth, who are 16th in the league with 35 points, seven clear of the relegation zone, suffered back-to-back defeats to title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea that extended their winless run to four games.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)