Nine players from the AFC Bournemouth youth team have signed contracts to progress to the under-21s for next season, continuing their progression with the club.
All nine players have completed their two-year scholarships, with some of them playing on loan over the season as well as being part of the team that reached the quarter-finals of this year’s FA Youth Cup, and will move into the under-21 set up for the start of pre-season.
Youth team manager Alan Connell spoke to afcb.co.uk about the nine players, starting off with what the players will need to do to be successful in the latest steps of their careers.
“They need to do what they do better and quicker,” he said. “The intensity is going to go up for them, they’ve dealt with that step-up before and the good thing is that they’ve been playing a lot with the under-21s this season anyway.
“It’s been an incredible season, we’ve had a lot of player progress through to the under-21s and that is ultimately what it’s all about. We’ve got nine through, which speaks volumes for the work that goes in by the players and all the academy staff.
“Maturity will happen naturally and they need more men’s experience. A lot of them have been out on loan so I think they’re ready to have a right go and it will interesting to see how they develop.”
Calum Ward - Goalkeeper
“Calum’s been with the club for a long time, and I’d say in his first year as a scholar he struggled, even at the start of his second year there were a lot of question marks over him. Then the penny dropped and in one game away at West Ham in a friendly he just looked the part, his distribution, talking and organising were better.
“He makes big saves and like all our goalkeepers he has to be brave, he’s shown that in abundance so credit to him.”
Brennan Camp – Centre-back
“He’s been at the club since he was nine and had an incredible two-year scholarship, playing for Scotland at under-19 level, going out on loan and being our captain.
“Brennan scores goals from centre-half, steps out well and defends well. He needs to work on a lot of things but there is a lot of potential there.”
Tom Hanfrey – Left-back
“He signed two years ago from Charlton and when he first arrived he didn’t get it, he didn’t know what it took. I still think he’s grasping that and he’s definitely got a better understanding now.
“He now needs to get all his attributes and put them all together, which he hasn’t done yet, but we’re hopeful that will all click for him.”
Zeno Ibsen Rossi – Centre-back
“Zeno signed two years ago but was injured for his first season with us, so from a Bournemouth point of view he’s only really been with us for a year. He’s made huge strides in that year and has shown huge character coming back from injury.
“He’s tall, he can play out and wants to defend. He’s still growing into his body as he’s such a tall boy but he has lots of potential.”
Luke Nippard – Midfielder
“Luke’s been at the club since he was 12, he’s a local boy and a Bournemouth fan. Mainly he’s a central midfielder but he can also play at right-back, he’s level-headed and mature beyond his years.
“He’s an all round box-to-box midfielder and he’ll will get out of tight areas and situations which you don’t expect him to and he breaks up the play well. He needs to add things to his game, like they all do, but it will be really interesting to see how he develops.”
Tom Dinsmore - Midfielder
“Tactically Tom is very aware and he’s a great lad with an unbelievable attitude. Technically he’s very good with a great range of passing, he’s been very versatile for us this year and he is another player who’s been here since he was 12.
“That step up in intensity will be good for him and I think that will make his qualities come out more – playing with better players but also having to make quicker decisions. He’s made a huge progression and will now look to kick-on again.”
Jake Scrimshaw – Striker
“Over the last two years he’s scored close to 100 goals for the youth team, the under-21s and for Poole Town. His progression has been remarkable from where he was, there are loads of things he still needs to work on but there’s a player in there.
“He’s put his name out there already and it’s important now that he continues to develop and he fulfils his potential. You wouldn’t want to play against him.”
Jake Cope – Striker
“As a person he’s matured a lot over two years. We’ve had ups and downs with him, getting him to focus all the time. Technically he’s good, he still needs to get better, but he’s got a lot of attributes. He takes the ball well, can create, can score, but we need all of that.
“There’s a good player there and hopefully if he knuckles down, as I’m sure he will, I’ll be intrigued to see what happens next for him.”
Ryan Glover – Striker
“He’s been here since he was nine, and he’s a physical athlete. He’s powerful, a Ryan Fraser type, and is getting better technically - he’s almost our best defender as well with the way he presses and covers from wide areas.
“He’s been out since Christmas with a knee injury, hopefully he’ll be back in August. He’s looking very strong in his rehab and he’s the sort of player you’d always want on your team, for both sides of the game, and he’s starting to understand the importance of his professionalism in everything that he does. If he gets that right then I think he’s got a good chance.”