Bournemouth are showing that trust in homegrown talent pays off

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AFC Bournemouth have now established themselves as a Premier League outfit capable of beating anyone in the division. The Cherries, who are now in their fourth consecutive season in the top flight, are an exciting side who have an extremely talented young English manager at the helm in the form of Eddie Howe.

Having spent the majority of his playing career at Dean Court, the 41-year-old has spent just one season away from the south coast - when he took charge of Burnley back in 2011-12 - but soon returned to his hometown after struggling to adapt to life up north. Since his return to the club seven years ago, Howe took Bournemouth from League One to the Premier League in just three seasons and the Cherries are now mainstays in the top flight, constantly improving each year.

Eddie Howe Bournemouth
Eddie Howe has taken Bournemouth from the depths of League Two to the Premier League in the past ten years


One of the most refreshing things about Eddie Howe is his trust in homegrown, young talent looking to prove themselves on the main stage. It's so common to see clubs in the Premier League neglect the ever-growing pool of talent they have available to them in their respective academy systems, instead opting to gamble on foreign players with hefty price tags who come with a big reputation. This of course pays off in many cases, however time and time again we see club's shell out huge sums of money only to be let down when the player pulls on the shirt.

Bournemouth throw caution to the wind; maybe due to a more limited budget; maybe just because they have a manager in charge who himself is young and English and knows exactly how difficult it can be to catch a break in the modern game with little reputation in the world's biggest league.

Players like Callum Wilson - who the Cherries signed from Coventry City in 2014 for just £3 million - is one of the league's most consistent strikers and earned an England call-up last year. The 26-year-old is now worth north of £50 million due the current state of the transfer market and sooner or later Bournemouth will cash in on that, thanks to Howe's decision to stick with him up front instead of bringing in a player from overseas.

Wilson's strike partner Josh King, who came through the ranks at Manchester United before heading south in 2015 is another player of real quality who may have been completely frozen out of the Premier League had it not been for Bournemouth's willingness to give him a chance. The Norwegian international has eight goals and four assists to his name this season and cost the club nothing after joining on a free transfer three-and-a-half years ago.

In fact, there are currently 19 British players in the Cherries' first team squad - including new signings Dominic Solanke, Nathaniel Clyne and Chris Mepham - all of which are graduates of various academies throughout the UK; not to mention England starlet Lewis Cook, who but for an untimely knee injury would be right in the mix this term. With the club currently sitting pretty in 10th place - just a point behind 7th placed Wolves - Bournemouth are showing the rest of the division just what can be achieved should you place trust in homegrown talent and it's incredibly refreshing to see.


21-year-old wide man David Brooks - who joined the club from Sheffield United for £12 million in the summer - is the latest player to prosper under Eddie Howe's guidance at Bournemouth. The Wales international has been given an opportunity to shine in the Premier League this season and he's repaid the faith shown in him by being one of the Cherries' standout performers.

With six goals and four assists to show for his efforts so far, including a superb finish in last night's 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea, Brooks looks a classy player with a big future ahead of him. This is again due to his new club willing to take a chance on him, willing to throw him in at the deep end ahead of more experienced players like Jordon Ibe and Junior Stanislas.

It was a similar story with Ryan Fraser, the 24-year-old Scot joined the club from Aberdeen for just £400,000 when they were in the third tier and he played a massive part in their subsequent promotions to the Championship and Premier League. It would have been easy for Howe & Co to cast him aside in the big league and bring in a more experienced player with top flight pedigree but they didn't; instead they gave him a fair opportunity and are now reaping the rewards.

Fraser is currently second for assists in the Premier League with nine to his name, just one shy of Chelsea's Eden Hazard who is arguably the best player in the whole division. The electric winger has also scored six goals for Bournemouth in all competitions this season, earning him recognition from some of the country's top sides; with Liverpool reportedly keen on him earlier in this January's window.

Ryan Fraser
Ryan Fraser is currently second in the Premier League assists chart


With such a good infrastructure in place and a manager at the helm who is not only technically gifted, but refreshingly humble, the future looks extremely bright for Bournemouth. A crop of exciting, young, homegrown players has seen one of the league's smallest clubs transform into a respectable side who are hard to beat and almost impossible to dislike.

Eddie Howe and assistant Jason Tindall have got things right and should they remain put on the south coast, the sky really is the limit for the Cherries. The difficulty will come when players like Callum Wilson, Josh King, David Brooks and Ryan Fraser start to attract serious interest from club's in the top six; however until that day comes all they can do is continue to grow as a football club, showing the rest of the footballing world just what can be done if you take a leap of faith on homegrown players with huge potential.


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