Ryan Fraser insists he had no option but to stop playing for Bournemouth

Ryan Fraser insists he had no option but to stop playing for Bournemouth

Ryan Fraser has maintained he had no option but to put himself first by declining to sign a short-term playing extension with Bournemouth after his contract there expired when last season resumed in June.

Newcastle’s newly signed winger felt he could not risk jeopardising an expected move to St James’ Park by getting injured. However, he concedes he was “gutted” at the way his time on the south coast ended and insists his relationship with Eddie Howe remains strong. Without Fraser in the team Bournemouth were relegated in July, prefacing Howe’s departure from the club.

“I made the decision not to play and got battered for it,” said Fraser. “Everyone has their own opinions but at the end of the day I need to look after myself. My contract was done so it’s not like I refused to play any games.

“Nobody saw this virus coming. If the virus didn’t come I would have played every game under my contract. Some lads in the Premier League signed an extension, and fair play to them. But for me, at my age, knowing that Newcastle wanted me, it was just a decision I had to make.

“I’m always going to get criticised. I wish Bournemouth the best of luck and I still talk to Jason Tindall [the new manager]. Two weeks ago I met Eddie Howe in a coffee shop and spoke to him for about an hour. There are no hard feelings.”

There are certain regrets, though. “I didn’t want Bournemouth to go down,” the Scotland international said. “It would have been a lot easier if they’d stayed up. With me playing, without being big headed, I think I would have helped massively. I wasn’t sad. I was gutted.”