Jaidon Anthony is relishing the prospect of locking horns with some old adversaries when AFC Bournemouth host Champions League winners Chelsea in their first home pre-season friendly on Tuesday.
Thomas Tuchel’s team arrive at Vitality Stadium on the back of triumphing 1-0 against Premier League winners Manchester City in the final in Porto in May.
Anthony regularly did battle with Mason Mount, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi when he was coming through the youth ranks at Arsenal, the trio all members of the Blues’ squad which lifted the trophy in Portugal.
“I wouldn’t say I was close with any of them but I played against them when I was at Arsenal,” Anthony told afcb.co.uk.
“They have all gone on to do really well for themselves and winning the Champions League is the pinnacle for every club player in Europe.
“These are the games you want to play in and they are the type of players you want to test yourself against.
“Chelsea had a great season and this will be a really good test to see where we are. It will be great to have fans back and a nice experience to play in front of them.”
Frontman Anthony will be looking to continue his eye-catching progress under new AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker this season.
The 21-year-old impressed in pre-season friendlies against Real Balompedica Linense and Granada during the Cherries’ training camp in Marbella.
He netted the Cherries’ opener in their 4-2 win over Real Balompedica in Marbella and provided the assist – a defence-splitting through ball – for Dom Solanke’s goal against Granada in Malaga.
Anthony said: “Pre-season has been good and it’s been tough. It’s always tough but this season especially.
“We’ve had a lot of double sessions and they have really worked us hard but that’s what we need and, hopefully, it will stand us in good stead for the season ahead.
“You need a hard pre-season to get you ready and get you match fit. I’m sure it will continue over the coming weeks and we’ll be ready for the first game.
“It’s been my toughest pre-season so far and it can only really help us. Hopefully, it will put us in a good position come the start of the season.”
Discussing the training camp on the Costa del Sol, Anthony said: “It’s always nice to get away to a different environment.
“It was a tough nine days, it was really hot and we worked hard. It was productive so it was definitely a good week-and-a-half.
“We didn’t know too much about what we were coming up against with Real Balompedica Linense.
“But we’d been working hard on what the gaffer and his staff want from us and we tried to implement that.
“The temperature played a big part in the game but I felt there were definitely some good bits and we showed little spells of what he wants. You could see what a Scott Parker team is going to look like.
“We knew it was going to be a tougher test against Granada but, going into the game, we were always confident we knew what we wanted to do.
“Again, we wanted to implement what we had been working on. It wasn’t too focused on what they brought to the table, it was more about us and what we had taken from the training pitch.
“I felt we showed what we can do and what we have learned so far, especially in the first half. I know we’ll get better and tighten up a few things.”
Parker is the fourth Cherries manager or head coach Anthony will have had to prove himself to and hopes he can stake a claim to build on his appearance tally.
He said: “It’s always interesting when a new manager comes in because he will have slightly different thoughts.
“As a young player coming through, the main thing is to try to impress. You have to work really hard and show what you can do.
“Coming back, I knew I was going to be with the first team so I knew I needed to start well and show them what I can do. I need to keep showing them for the whole season, not just pre-season.
“To a certain extent, it’s like a clean slate but you know the gaffer will have taken information from the coaching staff who are still here.
“It’s a new chance to impress and really show what you can do. Hopefully, they like what I can bring to the table.”
Click through the arrows above to see a selection of pictures of Jaidon Anthony during pre-season.