Jefferson Lerma often goes unnoticed but he is a vital part of Bournemouth’s squad


Jefferson Lerma is a vital part of how Bournemouth want to play and continues to be a key part in their push to make an instant return to the Premier League.

The Columbian has featured 39 times in all competitions this term and netted his third goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Middlesbrough on Good Friday.

His job in the side doesn’t require him to score goals but he got the all important second which put his side back in front against Boro.

Lerma joined the Cherries back in 2018 for £25 million from Levante – a fee which raised many eyebrows but he is continuing to show just how good value for money he was when the club signed him.

Before this season, he was renowned for getting a lot of cautions but has now gone 10 matches since his last booking, that came in the 2-0 FA Cup win against Burnley at Turf Moor in February.

He had, however, received nine yellow cards and one red card before the end of January but under Jonathan Woodgate he seems to have been much more disciplined because there was a real danger that could reach close to 20 cautions come the end of the season but that is out of the question now.

Lerma has made 103 appearances for the club in all competitions since the move from La Liga three seasons ago and is showing real levels of consistency this season under the stewardship of Woodgate, who has been in charge since the win against Birmingham City in early February.

The 26-year-old has missed just three league games this season, two of which he was injured for (Bristol City and Derby County), the other of which he was out suspended for (Barnsley), so it just goes to show how important he is to the side, when available for selection, he plays.

Due to the reputation which the hard hitting midfielder has, it did come as a little bit of a surprise that he wasn’t picked up by a Premier League club when Bournemouth were relegated from the Premier League last term but you get the feeling that one way or another, he will be playing in the top tier somewhere in Europe next season.

Woodgate lauded Lerma’s play following the win over Boro in his post-match press conference.

“I don’t judge Jeff on goals but he deserved it but today I thought he was a man mountain in that midfield, I’m his biggest fan.

“If I was to describe a six to anyone, then he’s my favourite. He does everything every single game, he heads it, he runs, he tackles, he’s a special player for me.

“He hasn’t been booked for a while now and you do look at that (Yellow card problem) but you don’t want to take the fire out of his game, you’re harder to beat when you stay on your feet and try and close someone down.”

Lerma’s physicality in the midfield is always there, he loves putting in tackles and his desire to do well for the team is clear and he’s a vital cog in the Bournemouth machine.

He works incredibly hard every game and it was noticeable how big a loss he was before the international break against Southampton in the FA Cup when he was absent due to a suspension – you suspect it would have been a much closer outcome had Lerma been available for selection.

The Bournemouth midfielder plays as a number six, which allows the likes of Jack Wilshere and Phillip Billing a licence to get forward and go forward in attack with Lerma doing more the dirty work, break up and disrupting play, incredibly effectively every week.

When fit, the Columbian is one of the first names on the teamsheet and is a vital player for the side with his energy levels and ability in central midfield.

With the season building towards its finale, Cherries fans will now hope his performances can amount to helping his side claim a play-off place between now and the end of the campaign.

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