Harry Arter says "football was the only thing that was keeping me going" after daughter's death

The Irish international was speaking to Off the Ball ahead of their final Premier League game of the season

BY Daniel Kelly 16:04 Saturday 14 May 2016, 16:04 14 May 2016

Picture by: Paul Harding / PA Wire/Press Association Images

It has been a very different past 12 months for Harry Arter both on and off the field.

The 26-year-old helped Bournemouth earn promotion to the Premier League last April and earned his first international cap for Ireland in June. Off the field, his family suffered unspeakable tragedy. In December, his baby daughter Renee died at birth.

"Football was the only thing that was keeping me going", Arter told Off the Ball ahead of Bournemouth's final game of the season. "The amount of support I had from everyone, all across the world was amazing."

"Deep inside, I feel a completely different person. I look at the world in a totally different light, which is a shame really. It took something so tragic to make me feel and realise, and treat people differently. Through anything bad that happens, something good does come from it I guess."

Arter was widely praised for revealing publicly what happened last December. The Ireland international played for his team, two days after his daughter died.

"Before the Manchester United game, I felt that I had to, purely down to the fact that, unfortunately I did half-break down a little bit. I was close to killing the ref at one point in the game. I felt, before the game, I had to tell everyone, the reasons why I wasn't in the right mental state."

The midfielder told Off the Ball, that playing so soon after the game, was a way of trying to cope with what had happened. "I'm sure everyone grieves in different ways. Even now, talking about it, it fills me with happiness. I love people to recognise that I had a little girl. She did exist, and I'm happy to talk about her."

Arter has played once for Ireland. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"That night, I played and I continue to play every game in honour of my little girl. That night, we played one of the biggest teams in the world. My team mates all supported me massively throughout that game and we beat them."

This season has seen Arter impress for Bournemouth, when fit. He feels like he is catching up on lost time, from earlier on in his career. "Id have like to have gotten to the Premier League a little quicker that I did. But at 25, and being in the Premier League is not the end of the world."

Arter has only featured once for Ireland, despite featuring in numerous squads. He has been named in the Ireland squad ahead of the forthcoming friendly with The Netherlands, but his eyes are firmly set on Euro 2016.

"I want to try and be part of the 23. That's my main ambition now. I think it would be for anyone who's not considered a definite in the squad. If I am able to get int the 23, something I will try and do then is get in the team."

"It's everyone's ambition, not just to get to the Euros, but to play and try and have an impact. I won't be just happy sitting on the bench or playing and not playing well. If I am selected I want to give a really good account of myself."

Despite the lack of action for Arter in an Ireland jersey, he has kept in touch with the Martin O'Neill throughout the past 12 months. "Martin has been unbelievable to me. He was always calling to see me how I am, throughout the qualifying campaign. He was always reassuring me that if I was fit I would be in the squad. That's unbelievable to hear from someone like him."

Arter will hope to feature in Bournemouth's last game of the season this weekend. Off the Ball will have live commentary with Dave McIntryre and Pat Nevin from Old Trafford, as Bournemouth visit Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. Kick off is at 3pm.


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