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First team

Young guns fill Howe with pride

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says the club prides itself on having the youngest average starting line-up in the Premier League this season.

Howe has given no fewer than nine players aged 23 and under game time in the top flight in 2019/20, bringing the club’s average age to 25 years and 66 days.

Aaron Ramsdale, 21, has been ever present and has been joined in the team by the likes of Chris Mepham, Dominic Solanke, Harry Wilson, Lewis Cook, Arnaut Danjuma, Philip Billing, Jack Stacey and Jordon Ibe.

Fielding a question from Sky Sports at his pre-match press conference this morning, Howe said: “I didn’t know that but I’m not entirely surprise.

“I don’t like to say we’re in transition but there has been a shift in terms of bringing some younger players into the team and that will only increase due to injuries and a couple of other reasons.

“We’ve been only too pleased to give people like Aaron Ramsdale and others an opportunity. It’s a great thing for the future for us because young players are the way forward.

“I’ve said many times before, we can’t sign ready-made, established Premier League players.

“We have to sign younger players who we can develop into Premier League players and that’s what we’ve done on several occasions and that’s what we’ll have to continue to do.

“We pride ourselves on giving young players an opportunity so those guys that have had their chances so far this season have done really well and will only get better from this point onwards.

“We’re very proud of our young players and how they develop and work. A lot of them have got very bright futures.”

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