FORWARD-thinking Charlie Daniels has revealed how studying the Samba skills of modern-day full-backs has aided his flourishing partnership with Marc Pugh.

Cherries remain unbeaten in the Championship since Daniels, who signed a new two-and-a-half- year contract on New Year’s Eve, returned to the starting line-up at the beginning of October.

The 28-year-old left-back has established a formidable partnership with winger Pugh during Cherries’ surge to the Championship summit, weighing in with assists in December victories over Cardiff and Blackpool.

And the diligent defender explained that keeping abreast of the latest tricks and techniques used by the Premier League’s top stars had helped him to gain an advantage over his rivals.

Daniels told the Daily Echo: “Full-backs have had to evolve over the past decade. It started with the likes of Cafu and Roberto Carlos and developed from there.

“It is normal for defenders to play a part in the final third now. You see Nathaniel Clyne, Pablo Zabaleta and Leighton Baines making a real impression at both ends of the pitch week-in, week-out.

“When you’re a professional footballer you don’t watch games as such, you look at individual players without following the ball too much.

“You look at the positions the top players pick up, where they are off the ball to try replicate the things they do well. That is the standard you have to aspire to if you want to implement our style of play.”

Daniels has started all bar one Cherries’ 14-match unbeaten league run behind right-footed Pugh with the duo’s recent displays rivalling those of right-sided colleagues Simon Francis and Matt Ritchie.

And with both flanks bolstering the side’s free-scoring artillery, the former Spurs youngster advocated using the club’s wingers on the opposite side to their natural position.

“Since moving to left-back I have always played with right-footed wingers so it is something I am used to,” added Daniels.

“You see it working on the other side with Franno and Matty and I think most teams are doing it nowadays.

“It is part of the modern set up to have wingers playing on the opposite side and it helps us with the way the game has evolved.

“I have always had a really good understanding with Pughy and hopefully we can keep improving and come up with a few more different ways to make an impression.”