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First team

Tiffs with Howe and shirts in the attic: Pugh reflects

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Marc Pugh has revealed he had no hesitation in committing his future to AFC Bournemouth once he had discovered Eddie Howe would be returning as manager.

Pugh’s memorable and eventful nine-year stay with the Cherries will officially end later this month and the winger sat down with afcbTV to give a warts-and-all interview about his time at the club.

The popular Lancastrian spoke fondly about his incredible journey to the Premier League after being rejected by boyhood club Burnley and then thrown on the scrapheap by Shrewsbury.

Signed by Howe for a bargain £100,000 from Hereford in June 2010, Pugh chose to remain at the club while a number of his teammates left following the League One play-off near-miss in May 2011.

He was weighing up his options when Howe made a dramatic return from Burnley in October 2012 and wasted no time in signing a new contract.

In the interview with afcbTV, Pugh said: “He came back and watched the Leyton Orient game from the stand. I scored in that game. I took the ball round the ‘keeper, chopped the defender on the line and slotted it in.

“I signed the contract the day after he came back because I knew success was right around the corner with the gaffer in charge.”

Asked whether he had ever had a crossword with Howe during his nine years, Pugh replied: “We’ve had disagreements and little tiffs, like you have with your missus, but we’ve never had a full-blown argument or anything like that.

“He respects you if you voice your opinion and we have that kind of relationship.”

Discussing everything from first meeting Howe in Prezzo to his emotions during a guard of honour ahead of the Cherries’ final home game of this season, Pugh also made an amusing revelation about Eden Hazard, the two-goal hero of Chelsea’s Europa League win against Arsenal last week.

“I’ve got one of his shirts and it’s gathering dust in my attic!” laughed Pugh, who also said he had a David Silva shirt in his loft.

“I’m ashamed to say it and need to get them framed but just haven’t got round to it. I’m sure Hazard would be devastated if he knew but I do think a lot of him so I will get it framed one day!”

And asked what his plans were after he had hung up his boots, Pugh said he would happily consider becoming a postman or something down the personal training route.

Irrespective of what the future held, father-of-two Pugh said he was excited and added: “A lot of players get really nervous about knocking football on the head at the end of their career.

"But I’ve got a few irons in the fire and am looking forward to it – not too soon though because I feel like there is a lot more left in the legs yet!”

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