CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe believes Lewis Cook and Lys Mousset are both shining examples of the club's forward-thinking recruitment policy.

Howe has received criticism in some quarters for paying sizeable transfer fees for young players and then not immediately blooding them in the Premier League.

Cook and Mousset were both used sparingly by Howe during their first seasons at Vitality Stadium following big-money moves in the summer of 2016.

Midfielder Cook, a £7m buy from Leeds, was restricted to six appearances in the top flight, while striker Mousset featured 11 times, including eight from the bench.

Cook's return to the starting line-up for the visit of West Ham on Boxing Day coincided with the start of Cherries' club-best seven-match unbeaten run.

And France under-21 international Mousset, who cost around £5.4m from Le Havre, netted his first Premier League goal to earn Howe's team victory against Stoke on Saturday.

Howe, who did not bolster his squad during the transfer window, said: "We can’t buy ready-made and established players who are doing well in the Premier League because they are well out of our financial bracket.

"We have been hit with a bit of criticism in recent years because we have signed players for decent transfer fees and they haven’t been seen for a while.

"I don’t think people can quite understand what the thought process behind that is.

"It is about developing, improving and, hopefully, integrating them into the team. Then, you have an established Premier League player of good age who is ready to do the club well over a long period of time.

"For us, young players have always been the core principles behind our foundations and that will never change.

"The journey of self-improvement and the coaching elements are what we pride ourselves on and what we want to do.

"I have said many times, I would like to have signed players during the window.

"It wasn’t through a lack of want or work on players, it was just our financial situation and not finding the right players for the money that we had meant that I would rather go with what I had.

"If you can’t find better then don’t recruit."

Mousset, who had the misfortune to score an own goal on his Premier League debut during a 2-2 draw against Stoke last season, atoned to seal victory over the Potters as Cherries went ninth.

Howe added: "I was delighted for Lys. It will be a huge moment for him.

"He has done a lot of hard work behind the scenes, very similar to the other young players we have signed and tried to develop and improve every day.

"There have been times, no doubt, when he has been frustrated and desperate to get more game time but if he continues on this path, he will get there and become a huge player for the club.

"He is a talented lad. He has that unique mix of pace, power and technique. He has had to improve his fitness levels since he has been here but I think it is all coming together nicely for him."