CHERRIES’ man of the moment Eunan O’Kane says he is desperate to realise his Premier League dream – during his time at Dean Court.
Midfield maestro O’Kane has shot to prominence this season after turning in a succession of eye-catching displays for Eddie Howe’s men.
The 23-year-old Irishman again starred when he took centre stage during Cherries’ FA Cup showdown with top-flight big guns Liverpool on Saturday.
O’Kane revelled under the gaze of the ITV cameras and more than held his own against a Reds team which was skippered by England captain Steven Gerrard.
His impressive form has already seen him linked with a host of Premier League and Championship clubs with Aston Villa, Norwich, Swansea and Fulham understood to be among his admirers.
However, O’Kane, who has 18 months to run on his current contract, is keen to repay the faith shown by boss Howe and wants to help Cherries continue on an upward spiral.
O’Kane, a bargain £175,000 buy from Torquay in July 2013, told the Daily Echo: “I didn’t feel overly out of my depth against Liverpool and it was a great experience to face a top quality team.
“Their side was packed with very good players and in no way am I suggesting I am ready to play at that level. That would be something for other people to decide, not me.
“I am no different to any other player and it is where I want to get to. Hopefully, at some stage in my career, I will get the chance to play against that calibre of player on a regular basis.
“Ultimately, I would like that to be with Bournemouth. I think everything is set up here for us to go places and I know the chairman, the manager and the players want to get there.
“We saw that earlier this month because the club made a big statement in keeping Lewis Grabban. Brighton are a big club in the Championship and you could say they are a few steps ahead of us in terms of being ready to go up with their stadium and infrastructure. The board and manager here made their intentions perfectly clear by persuading him to stay.
“There is no reason why I would want to leave here.”
O’Kane, whose exploits against Liverpool were seen by Republic of Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane in his capacity as an ITV panellist, will be hoping to earn his first full international cap should he win a call up for a friendly against Serbia in Dublin in March.
“You always look to impress and to do your best in every game,” said O’Kane. “It would be an honour to one day represent the Republic of Ireland.”