CHERRIES rookie Matt Butcher is dreaming of emulating childhood hero Frank Lampard by homing in on a midfield berth during his first year as a pro.

The 18-year-old Portsmouth-based youth product revealed his shock at reading his name on the squad list for Tuesday’s League Cup tie at Hartlepool, the match that marked his senior debut.

Butcher was one of four players offered pro terms in April on the back of eye-catching displays in a variety of positions at under-18 and under-21 level.

He gained experience in the sixth tier with Gosport Borough in February before making seven starts and two substitute appearances during Poole Town’s promotion run-in where he was again utilised in a handful of roles.

And while he remains more than happy to be adaptable, the emerging talent is feeling the benefit of nailing down one position this season.

Butcher, who joined Cherries at the age of 13, told the Daily Echo: “Since I came back in pre-season, I have played a lot more in midfield. I think I have learned a lot from being in that position more of the time and feel like I have really improved.

“I watched Frank Lampard quite a bit as a youngster and always admired how he got box to box and scored so many goals from midfield.

“To get anywhere near the things he achieved would be an amazing accomplishment and, like a lot of players, that’s the dream.”

Eddie Howe hailed Butcher’s positive attitude having thrust him into the action for the final 13 minutes at Victoria Park with the youngster unable to contain his delight at the full-time whistle.

“It is the best feeling I have had in football so far,” added Butcher. “It was surreal after only stepping up to the under-21s in the past year but I have been more involved since pre-season.

“To play was a great experience and it was great to get through to the next round.

“I don’t think you can go into it worrying about misplacing a pass because if you do, then you probably will. I had to go into it as confidently as I could while respecting the opposition.”

Butcher said he had rubbed his eyes having seen his name on the squad list on Monday but parents Dave and Sarah had to wait to hear the good news.

“I just walked in and saw my name on the sheet. I was absolutely buzzing,” said Butcher. “I had been involved in a few pre-season games as well but I didn’t expect this to come so soon.

“We trained first, then I had lunch but when I got out, the first thing I did was get in touch with my family. They were really happy as well.”