7:34am Wednesday 25th July 2012
By Suzanne Geldard
CAMERON Howieson’s international and Olympic experience is set to bring him closer to the Burnley first team, says manager Eddie Howe.
The young New Zealander has embarked on a whirlwind few months since helping the Clarets reach the FA Youth Cup final for the first time in 34 years.
After making his senior debut towards the end of his first-year scholarship, coming off the bench against Birmingham in April, attacking midfielder Howieson signed professional terms at Turf Moor, and later received an unexpected call-up to the full Kiwi squad for friendlies and World Cup qualifying games.
The 17-year-old, who earned his first international cap against El Salvador in Houston in May, was then named in the New Zealand squad for London 2012.
The Oly Whites, the name given to the Under 23 team, begin their Olympics campaign at the City of Coventry Stadium tomorrow, facing Belarus in Group C.
The team then travel to Old Trafford, where they will take on Egypt on Sunday (kick-off 12 noon), before completing the group stages against Brazil at St James’ Park, Newcastle next Wednesday.
Howieson’s international duties mean he will miss the bulk of Burnley’s pre-season programme.
But Howe is confident his absence won’t hold him back. If anything, the Clarets boss believes it could speed up his development at Turf Moor.
“I’m really pleased for him this summer and I can’t wait to see him come back and see how he’s moved on and see how he’s developed,” he said.
“I’m sure this summer’s experiences have been invaluable for him, I’m sure it’s improved his game and brought his game on so we’re looking forward to seeing him.
“It’s a great experience for any young footballer, any young sportsman, to be mixing with the athletes that are there.
“It will be great for him.
“I’m going to try to catch a game, definitely.
“I know football (in the Olympics) is viewed quite cynically in this country but I think if you’re participating in the event I think it’s something very special, and I’m delighted for him.
“I think it will be something he looks back on with fond memories and I’m sure it’s brought him closer to our first team.”
Howe added: “The games that he’s got and the games that he’s had already, they are great experiences for him.
“Something that we’ll hopefully benefit from.
“It’s going to make him grow up pretty quickly. He’s already played in front of some big crowds and in some pressure situations and sometimes with young players that’s the doubt you have – can they handle these occasions? I’m sure all these experiences added up will make him much better prepared for our first team and the pressure situations that he may find himself in next year.”
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