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First team

Smith on staying, Parker & making the club’s top ten

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

“That’s mad, it makes me feel old!”

Still only 30, Adam Smith’s new two-year contract at AFC Bournemouth gives him the opportunity to carve his name even deeper into the club’s history and perhaps even reach the upper echelons of the all-time league appearance list.

With 256 to his name so far, the full-back is just eight shy of a place in the top 20 and 48 showings off skipping past Simon Francis and then record goalscorer Ron Eyre and into the top ten.

“It’d be amazing if I could do that, touch wood,” said Smith, sitting down for a conversation with afcb.co.uk. “Getting into the top ten would be great and to play that many games for this club would be amazing.

“Hopefully I can play those games and get higher up the leader board – and it’d be nice if we can top that off by playing back in the Premier League.”

A top-flight return and the historical appearance list are also joined by a third ambition, to make it onto a landmark the players drive past on their way to training each morning at Vitality Stadium.

“If I get in the top ten I’m going to have be on the legends’ wall, aren’t I? Hopefully I can make that happen.”

Speaking of former Tottenham team-mates Scott Parker, Matt Wells and Rob Burch, Smith cited his long history with the head coach, assistant head coach and goalkeeping coach as a major part of re-signing with the club.

“It’s helped my decision with them coming here and me already knowing them,” he said. “I can get settled in again easily with them now.

“I played with Wellsy and Burchy when they were in the reserves and I was a bit younger than them, but I always played up.

“When Scott was at Spurs I was 18 or 19 and training with the first team. I went away on the pre-season tours too and he was there, that’s how I got to know him.

“He was like a manager even then, just with the way he carried himself. You could always see that he was going to be involved in football after he’d stopped playing and I’m not surprised how well he’s done in management.”

Having heard reports of the tough pre-season training regime the new head coach and his team are putting the squad through, Smith is excited to catch up with his fitness.

“I did pre-seasons under Eddie Howe for many years and that was relentless, I’m not sure if the new manager will be more relentless than that but I’m used to it to be honest,” he said.

“I’m a naturally fit guy anyway, but the squad have been training for two weeks now. I’ve been running by myself and a sports scientist has been helping me out as well.

“It’s not the same as training for two weeks though so I’ll probably be a little bit behind but hopefully I can quickly get back into things and go from there.”

Returning to his history with the Cherries, Smith looked back on his initial 2010 arrival at the club, on loan from Spurs at the time, and how he’s changed as a person during his long stay on the south coast.

“When I was 19 I had less stress!” the defender said. “I’m a father to one now and we’re expecting another one in the winter time, I’m a lot wiser as well but deep down I’m still the same person.

“Time flies when you’re having fun, it only feels like yesterday when I first came here and signed, now I’m 30 and it’s been an absolutely crazy ride.”

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