Cape Town - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has emphasised the importance of centre-back Steve Cook and the crucial role he plays both on and off the pitch.
Cook has been at the Cherries since 2011, initially on loan from Brighton before making the move permanent, and helped them climb the English football tiers from League One to the Premier League.
The 26-year-old has endured a difficult period at the club this season, being relegated to the bench on a few occasions, but he has since formed a solid partnership with Nathan Ake, and Howe believes he is an important player for the club.
"Steve is a big player for us and is one of the leaders in the team," Howe told the Daily Echo.
"He is a big voice in the changing room, a big personality, and is maturing very nicely. His career is in a good place and he has had some very good games this season.
"He has developed the mindset to defend first and protect his goal. He has those old-fashioned defensive values we need. Being a very attacking team, I think you need people with the mindset to protect the goal and to want to keep clean sheets.
"He's a key player for us and we need him to perform at his best."