RISING star Baily Cargill has cited his bruising Conference baptism as the primary reason behind securing a long-term future with Cherries.
The 18-year-old defender, who spent three months in non-league’s top flight with Welling, returned to Dean Court in January with a hatful of plaudits.
During his stint under former Cherries player Jamie Day, Cargill impressed at left-back and centre-half, making 14 appearances at Park View Road.
His form prompted Wings fans to draw comparisons with one of their more famous former loan stars – Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson.
And Cargill, who signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Cherries in November, admitted the gritty edge gained in his loan spell had played a significant part in being offered a new contract.
Cargill told the Daily Echo: “I was really thankful for the opportunity at Welling. It was a really good stepping stone and it helped a massive amount.
“With that ground work, I am used to the physical battles now and I don’t think there’s anything better than gaining that experience.
“The tempo was much quicker than I had been used to and, while there was quality on the ball, I also played against some big units who put themselves about.
“In my first few games, I was knocked off the ball a bit too easily. We played Braintree and it was the most physical game I had ever been involved in. I must have headed the ball about 25 times in one half.
“They had a striker called Jordan Cox who was a couple of inches taller than me and he just came at me all game. I had to deal with a few elbows and all sorts. To begin with, he was bullying me.
“But I kept going and used what happened to grow into the game. In the end, I felt like I had won the battle.
“From there, I came to expect it that bit more. It was a learning curve but I think it played a big part in getting a new deal because it really helped bring on my game.”
Loan rules stipulate that Cargill cannot return to Welling this season but he is allowed out elsewhere. However, he is keen to make an impression on boss Eddie Howe.
On his chances of grabbing a first-team opportunity, he added: “I need to build a bit more confidence to be able to really knock on the door but I don’t think I’m too far away.
“A few good performances for the development squad or a few good training sessions and it might happen. I don’t feel like it’s beyond me, I feel like I could go out there and do a job.
“I think it is realistic but it is a massive step from Conference football and, if the manager thinks another loan is right for me, I will do whatever it takes to progress.”