EDDIE Howe believes Cherries have their own version of Jack Wilshere in Lewis Cook – and says the former Leeds United man should aim to reach this summer's World Cup.

Cook has featured in 14 of Cherries' Premier League games this campaign and could on Sunday lock horns with Arsenal's Wilshere, who spent a fruitful loan spell in Dorset last season.

A £7million signing in the summer of 2016, Cook started the opening league game of the season against Manchester United but then found chances hard to come by and suffered an ankle injury while away with England under-20s.

In order to aid his return to full fitness, Cook represented Cherries in the Hampshire Senior Cup 12 months ago before rising to prominence towards the end of the season after Wilshere sustained a broken leg.

The York-born ace has enjoyed much greater involvement in 2017-18 and has started Cherries' past three league games, with supporters becoming increasingly effusive about his talents.

Asked about similarities between Cook and Wilshere, Howe said: "I can see why you make the comparison. I always think players are slightly different but there are links between Jack and Lewis – they are a similar stature, for a start.

"They are technical, creative players with an eye for goal. They are difference-makers.

"I've got a lot of time for Lewis, I think he is going to be an outstanding player and if he can get close to Jack's levels in the next few years, it will be great for him.

"I think the World Cup should be Lewis's target, I really do. Why not?

"The way he has played recently and the way he has improved week on week, I wouldn't put it past him.

"He has achieved such great things in such a short time. Given the rapid way he is improving all aspects of his game, I don't think we should put barriers on him."

Howe said Cook's willingness to graft behind the scenes had aided his elevation to first-team regular.

"When we signed Lewis we were well aware of his capabilities," said Howe. "He had been a regular in the Championship and had played a lot of games for Leeds.

"He had to wait and be patient and watch the likes of Jack and our other midfield players do very well last season. It was a learning season for him and some players accept that differently to others.

"It was a credit to him that he got his head down and worked, learned and improved and then all that work came to fruition. In his own right, he is making rapid strides so we are really pleased with him."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger today confirmed Wilshere would be fit to face Cherries at Vitality Stadium.

The England international was forced out of Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg with Chelsea due to an ankle problem.