Bournemouth starlet backed by Howe
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says youngster Sam Surridge is close to being handed his Premier League debut.
Surridge spent the first half of the season on loan at Oldham, managing eight goals in 15 League Two appearances and he was also on target for the Latics in their 2-1 FA Cup third-round win over Premier League Fulham.
Howe has confirmed there was interest in the 20-year-old during the January transfer window but the Cherries boss opted to keep Surridge for the second half of the campaign rather than sanction another loan exit.
"We had a lot of interest in Sam which was a testament to how well he did at Oldham," he told the Daily Echo.
"A host of clubs at varying levels would have taken him, which is a great confidence boost for him. But we felt it was right that we did what was best for us and Sam in the sense of keeping him here, keeping him around the team and developing him behind the scenes in training, with the potential of using him in the team.
"That would be a great moment for him. Let's see what the season brings in that respect but he is certainly getting very close."
When asked if Surridge could challenge the more established strikers at Bournemouth Howe replied "absolutely", and he expects the forward to continue to improve as the season progresses.
He added: "For any player, if they don't go out on loan and stay with us, it is only good for their development because we believe in the work we do.
"Even without the games, we can make Sam better and make him more ready for the Premier League."
Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.