WHEN you look back on Eddie Howe's career in management so far, it's his superb work in guiding Bournemouth to the Premier League against all odds and his success at Newcastle United that spring to mind.

And yet for Howe himself, there's no overstating the importance of his 18 months in charge at Burnley.

Howe didn't enjoy particular success at Turf Moor, with the Clarets finishing 13th in his only full season in charge.

But had it not been for his time at Burnley, Howe doesn't think he'd be in charge at Newcastle right now. Howe's period in charge at Burnley was difficult but hugely beneficial in terms of what he learnt and ultimately laid the foundations for his success at Bournemouth when he returned for a second stint in charge of the Cherries.

“It was huge in my career," says Howe, reflecting on his time in charge of today's visitors.

"I look at that 18 months at Burnley as brilliant learning for me, going from Bournemouth to Burnley was a total change, on and off the pitch," said Howe, who left Bournemouth for Burnley before rejoining the Cherries after his

“I inherited a team that had just got relegated from the Premier League so a huge test, a one that I look back on now with real fondness really. It was a real challenge. I found it very difficult, but you learn so much in those moments and I did, I learnt so much and I hope I went back to Bournemouth a better manager. I look at it with great emotions now and I do genuinely wish Burnley huge success. I do owe them a lot as a football club.”

It's impossible to know how Howe's career would have progressed had he opted to say at Bournemouth in 2011 rather than join Burnley, but he's certain that he wouldn't be in charge of Newcastle right now.

"I definitely think I wouldn’t be, I don’t think I’d have progressed as a manager as quickly as I have," he says.

"I think that experience in itself taught me so many valuable lessons that I have taken forward.”

After today's game against the Clarets, attention turns to PSG and the visit of Kylian Mbappe and co next week.

Guiding Newcastle into the Champions League in his first full season in charge is perhaps Howe's most high profile achievement, but Howe has never really taken time to consider whether it's his best. Rather than looking back, he's focusing on the future and building on the success he's enjoyed so far on Tyneside.

“I don’t really tend to look at my career that way. I always look to the future and I want more," said Howe.

“I think finishing fourth will be the most difficult challenge we have to get to that position again or improve on that position, naturally with the demand we face this season and the commotion we are fighting with in the Premier League, it will be very, very difficult but that is not to say I don’t think we can achieve it.”


Today's game isn't only a reunion for Howe, with Nick Pope also coming up against his former club.

The keeper joined Newcastle in the summer of 2022 after Burnley's relegation and has been a huge part of the Magpies' success under Howe. He has endured some tough times as well, though.

Pope missed the Carabao Cup final after being sent off against Liverpool last season and needed surgery on a finger injury in the summer. But the 31-year-old now looks back to his best and has kept four clean sheets on the bounce.

Howe said: "I think he's performed really well. The Milan game naturally took the headlines because he made some great saves. His all-round game has been very, very good. You don't keep clean sheets in the Premier League without your keeper playing well.

He's a huge presence for us and he has been very consistent last year and this year, he's in good form."

Pope is hoping to win back a place in the England squad after being left out by Gareth Southgate for the last international get-together.

"It was typical Nick, really. You don't really see too much of his thoughts or emotions affect his training or match performance," said Howe when asked how Pope responded to that setback.

"He's very stable and level. I'm sure he'll be feeling lots of different emotions about lots of things in his life, maybe England included, but I think he's used it perhaps as motivation to perform so well."