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Eagle keen lead on eve of Merit League opener


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Centre-back Ollie Eagle aired his keenness to be a leader amongst the under-18s group ahead of their Merit League One opener away to Swindon Town.

Dan Carroll’s side travels to Wiltshire for an 11am kick-off on Saturday morning with a different look to the squad.

Following the conclusion of the EFL Youth Alliance, in which Eagle was an ever-present for the young Cherries, the club’s second-year scholars have now moved up to train with the development squad.

Having been one of only four players to feature in every EFL Youth Alliance clash for the under-18s, the young defender is keen to take those experiences forward.

He told afcb.co.uk: “Being a first year that’s played two matches at Vitality Stadium and almost every single under-18s match, you can’t complain about.

“Going into the Merit League now and the next season coming, I want to step up and show my own ability using the experiences I’ve had this season.

“They will be able to help me out if we go through tough times in the games to come.

“I’d like to step up as a leader, as someone to look up to as well. The experiences that I’ve had will help me with that.”

Under-18s skipper Lewis Brown is one of the second-year scholars to now be plying his trade under Alan Connell in the higher age category.

Speaking on his progression, Eagle explained how the midfielder has left big shoes to fill for whoever will don the armband next.

“With him going up to the development squad, that voice has been missed over the past week,” he said.

“We all need to step up now because that voice will no longer be there; he’s been a great leader for us on and off the pitch.

“He’s the sort of person that you could go to because he wasn’t just a captain on the pitch, but because he’s a good person to talk to.”

With a second successive EFL Youth Alliance South West division title under the team’s belt, Eagle views the Merit League as an opportunity for the team to keep pushing on.

“For us, it’s about keeping the same atmosphere and sticking to our values. Being a family is a massive one,” he explained.

“Although we’ve had two new coaches take over, nothing is changing, everything is staying the same.

“We’ve all worked with DC in the past and we all think of him the same, we know how much of a great coach he is.”

Eagle added: “For us, as first years, with second years going up, we know what we need to do and that we need to keep working to our values.

“We need to stay consistent on and off the pitch.

“We don’t want to just have this as a preparation league, we want to win it and we’re going to do everything we can.”

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