EDDIE Howe hailed goalkeeper Artur Boruc's "very mature" reaction to being left on the bench for the Premier League opener against West Brom.

Cherries boss Howe handed a starting berth between the sticks to summer signing Asmir Begovic and the Bosnian is widely expected to keep his place for tomorrow's home clash with Watford (3pm).

But Howe insists ex-Southampton and Celtic star Boruc remains an "integral" cog in his squad and says the stopper can "stake a claim" for a starting berth.

He said: "Artur was very mature about the situation. He understands the situation – there was no massive surprise for him, I don't think.

"We had conversations in the lead up to the final decision being made.

"He trained very well in pre-season and came back really fit, I'm really happy with him and he will be an integral part of our squad.

"Whether it's goalkeeper, centre-forward or midfielder, you pick what you think your best team for that game is with the information you have.

"I don't think there can be a pecking order because it changes so quickly and you always want players to change your opinion – that's what training and opportunities are for – a window for players to stake their claim to play."

Boruc joined Cherries on a free transfer in June 2015 after impressing during two separate loan spells from Southampton as the Dorset club won the Championship.

He became Howe’s first permanent signing following promotion and earned a new contract for his exploits in the club’s maiden campaign in the top flight.

Boruc agreed terms on a new one-year deal last summer which included provision for a further 12 months after he had played an agreed number of games.

And the 37-year-old, who retired from international football in March after winning 64 caps for Poland, later activated the clause.

Meanwhile, Howe hopes American midfielder Emerson Hyndman is on the brink of full fitness after making his comeback.

The 21-year-old sustained a stress fracture to his foot at the end of his loan spell at Rangers last term and did not feature in any of Cherries' pre-season fixtures or at West Brom.

However, Hyndman started the 2-0 friendly defeat at Brentford today alongside the likes of Connor Mahoney, Marc Wilson and Aaron Ramsdale.

Speaking prior to the game, Howe told the Daily Echo: "It's been a frustrating injury for Emerson because there have been days where he has trained really well and felt really good and then a couple of days later, he has felt something, so he has had to take a step back.

"This is the first time that, hopefully, he is nearing full fitness."

Hyndman was Howe's first signing of last year's summer transfer window, the youngster joining from Fulham on a four-year deal.

Due to the midfielder's age, Cherries agreed an undisclosed compensation fee with the London club, believed to be £750,000.