As the development squad cruised to victory against West Brom last month, one player in particular caught the eye of those in attendance, and even first team star Jaidon Anthony.
The winger was full of praise on social media for Ben Winterburn, a 17-year-old member of Alan Connell’s under-18s team.
The midfielder was enjoying the experience at Vitality Stadium, in his first Premier League Cup game, and put in a strong performance, even setting up Euan Pollock for the Cherries’ fourth goal.
Winterburn recalls a memorable evening to afcb.co.uk: “I really enjoyed it, it was a really good moment – to play at the stadium with the development squad and get a 4-0 win, and to play particularly well, was really good.
“I’m really grateful for the experience and overall it was a really good night. It’s good to know that I can play in that age group and still compete, it’s definitely a confidence booster.”
Despite only turning 17 in September, Winterburn found himself earning rave reviews on social media for his showing, including from the likes of Anthony, Morgan Rogers and other members of the development squad.
He said: “It was really nice to see some of the lads, as well as Jaidon Anthony and Morgan Rogers, put some stuff on about me. That’s just stuff you dream of as a kid, to be recognised by big players like that. It was really nice to see how they welcomed me in!”
Winterburn will get another opportunity to impress at Vitality Stadium as the under-18s take on QPR in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday 12th January (7pm kick-off).
The youngster is looking forward to the experience: “The FA Youth Cup is a big competition that the team really wants to get far in and as a team, we believe in ourselves.
“To have it at the stadium is really good and we’re all excited and up for it, and we know what we have to do between now and then to give ourselves the best chance of going through.”
Alan Connell’s side secured a comfortable win over Exeter City in the third round, with both goals coming from in-form Michael Dacosta Gonzalez at St James Park.
Winterburn is hoping to use his recent experience with the development squad to help his preparation for an important fixture and is looking for another memorable experience at the home of the Cherries:
“While it’s a big occasion, and for a lot of us it’s the first experiences with stadiums and crowds, it’s just another game and that’s how we’ve got to look at it.
“In the week building up to it, it hasn't been the biggest physical strain, you want to be ticking over but it’s more about the mental side.
“We don’t want nerves to push you over and change your performance. As a team, we really think we can win. We’ve played QPR this season and had some decent form as of late, so we definitely believe in ourselves”
The Cherries battled back to a 3-3 draw against QPR in a friendly meeting earlier in the season, with two goals scored in the final five minutes, and Winterburn knows to expect another tough game.
He tells afcb.co.uk: "They've got some good players, they're definitely attacking-minded. They'll pose a threat, which is something we've learned every team will bring.
"We'll look back at the game from previously in the season, learn from what we did well and not so well and take that into Wednesday."