CHERRIES winger Ryan Fraser insists he is at the peak of his powers and ready to fight any newcomers for his place – irrespective of their status.
The Scotland under-21 international brought down the curtain on a lengthy campaign this week when he featured in his country’s 6-1 defeat to the Netherlands at St Mirren Park on Wednesday.
Fraser, a £400,000 signing from Aberdeen in January 2013, has seen his stock rise during a record-breaking season at Dean Court, having largely impressed in 23 starts and 14 substitute appearances in the Championship.
After boss Eddie Howe completed signing of midfielder Dan Gosling from Premier League Newcastle United, Cherries’ nimble star revealed anticipation among the squad was at an all-time high, with players pondering who could join Cherries’ push for further progress next season.
And while Fraser admitted he would relish welcoming a host of star attractions to Dorset, any prospective wingmen were warned they would face him at his very best.
Assessing his progress, the 20-year-old told the Daily Echo: “I had a run of starting games last season which gave me a lot of belief but went away with Scotland which disrupted things a bit. I then got bronchitis at just the wrong time as well.
“But towards the end, I played a lot more again so if I can come back for pre-season training fit, I feel confident about starting more games.
“I thought the number of games I started was a lot considering I hadn’t played in League One the season before and reckon I have become a better player than I was at the start of last season. Hopefully, when we come back I can show that.
“I feel like I could start most games but it depends whether the manager brings in any players in my position.
You always have a fight on for your place anyway, but if top players come in then I can learn from them and develop my own game to challenge them.
“More quality can only help us all so it is really exciting. You hear rumours about who is coming in and whether they turn out to be true or not we do talk about who would be good for the squad.
“Everybody buzzes off it because getting better players just helps everybody. If we do get players in it will lift the whole squad and might help us to get promoted, you never know.”