Monday 11 December 2017

O'Kane: Cherries have been inspired by Rocky

Bournemouth's Eunan O'Kane
Bournemouth's Eunan O'Kane

Eunan O'Kane says Bournemouth's battle for English Premier League survival is being inspired by boxing film Rocky and actor Sylvester Stallone.

The winger, who this week made his Premier League debut and earned his first senior call-up with the Republic of Ireland, was part of the Bournemouth squad that visited Philadelphia, USA, during pre-season.

The American city was the setting for Rocky, the Oscar-winning film that proved the making of Stallone and was inspired by real-life world heavyweight title contender Chuck Wepner.

O'Kane and his team-mates learnt of both the film's story and about Stallone's life while in Philadelphia and the winger believes that they parallel Bournemouth's, who in recent years have swiftly gone from almost exiting the Football League to the richest division in the world.

"The manager [Eddie Howe] was a little bit surprised that some of the boys hadn't actually seen it before," said O'Kane, 25. "But while we were there we learnt a little bit about Sylvester Stallone. There was a few comparisons made from his story to Bournemouth's as a whole."

Bournemouth today travel to Upton Park to face West Ham, who are without suspended goalkeeper Adrian. In his absence O'Kane's fellow Ireland international Darren Randolph is expected to deputise.

Continuing the Rocky theme, O'Kane said: "Hopefully we'll still be swinging at the end of the West Ham game.

"We had a meeting in Philadelphia before we went to view the steps, about [Stallone's] story. There's parts of it where you think: 'To go through that is a huge level of commitment'. It also shows you that if you put the dedication and commitment in, and you stick to your beliefs, you can be rewarded in the end, and that's something we'll try to do this season."

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