Sam Surridge form rewarded with opportunities in absence of Dominic Solanke


Sam Surridge joined Bournemouth’s academy at the age of 14 from local side Bournemouth Sports, having moved locally to the Ferndown area at the age of seven and is one of a number of players to indirectly benefit from the club’s relegation last season.

Despite joining quite late compared to most, he did leave the set up not long after, returning to the club in 2015. He spoke about this in the club’s official programme ahead of the Rotherham win.
“It was a weird one. Back then, the academy wasn’t as good as it is now. I wasn’t enjoying it too much and, for whatever reason, I just wanted to go and play with my mates.
I didn’t see football as a career thing. I just wanted to play with my mates at Bournemouth Sports.
About a year or so after, I left, I ended up coming back. Matty Holmes brought me back in.”
The 22-year-old found it tough to find regular first team chances when the Cherries were in the Premier League last season, making just five appearances following a recall from his loan at Swansea City in the Championship, where he scored seven times in all competitions before Eddie Howe brought him back to the South Coast.
Upon his return, he made five appearances, including netting a goal in an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, but was unable to prevent the club from being relegated to the Championship, ending a five year stay in the big time for the Cherries.
However, despite relegation, Surridge was in and around the first team as they prepared for a season in the second tier, and with the likes of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser moving on, the striker knew he may have some more opportunities coming his way.
This proved to be the case, making his first start of the season in the Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace and he has since gone on to make 24 appearances across all competitions – netting five goals so far, although chances in the starting line up have been tough to come by.
He has started in just 14% of the Cherries league games to date, although he was awarded a go from the off in his side’s 1-0 win against Rotherham United last night.
The 22-year-old impressed in last week’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Burnley in which he netted a goal, his play throughout was impressive – linking the play up incredibly well, giving the Claret’s back line all sorts of problems to help set up a last eight clash with South Coast neighbours Southampton.
Surridge has found it tough to ever fully break through to the first team on a regular basis but like many players, has had some vital loan spells which have aided his development.
He has spent time out at Yeovil Town and Oldham Athletic in the lower leagues before earning some much needed experience in the Championship at Swansea City last term, which has really benefited him this season as he tries to get Bournemouth back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Despite Fraser and Wilson moving onto Newcastle, there have still been plenty of options in forward areas throughout the season. Dominic Solanke started the season as the main man, while Josh King was involved until he moved to Everton on deadline day.
Shane Long was also signed on the final day of the January window to cover the absence of King and is someone who can really help the development of Surridge as he makes his way in the game, offering plenty of experience under his belt having played at several different clubs in his time.
The Bournemouth striker also told the official programme of what he wants to achieve personally between now and the end of the season.
“I want to cement my place in the team and try to be a regular starter, I’d like to hit double figures for goals as well.”
The striker was a pest all evening against the Millers, using his pace to make great runs in behind and was heavily involved in the game’s opener, laying it off to Adam Smith who found an unmarked Phillip Billing in the box, before the midfielder applied a calm finish to settle the nerves in the first half.
His movement and hold up play was particularly impressive, leading the line really well for his side who remain without Solanke who is out injured, but Surridge is certainly making the most of the chances he has been given in the club’s top scorer’s absence.
You could tell that his confidence grew as the half progressed against the Yorkshire club, one quick touch in particular stood out as a sharp interchange between himself and Arnaut Danjuma resulted in the winger firing an effort goalwards but it was easily saved.
If he keeps playing the way he has in recent weeks then he will certainly earn many more chances to impress and with a new permanent manager imminent, he will be keen to show what he can do and make a real impression with the season well over the halfway mark now.
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