HARRY Arter insisted he had pulled out all the stops during pre-season in a bid to win back his place in the Cherries team.

Arter was restricted to 13 appearances in the Premier League in 2017-18 – his last start coming during the 2-2 draw at Brighton on New Year's Day.

The Republic of Ireland international described it as a "very disappointing” campaign from a personal point of view and said he had come back "fitter than ever".

Arter, who played 90 minutes against Real Betis on Friday, did not feature for Cherries after lining up in the forgettable FA Cup third round replay defeat at Wigan in January.

The 28-year-old said he accepted the “ruthless” nature of football having seen his team-mates seize their chance and vowed to play his way back into contention.

Arter told the Daily Echo: “Last season was very disappointing for me on the pitch.

“Naturally, I was really looking forward to it ending because I wanted to come back and prove I’m still the player I knew I was last season.

“I felt, potentially, I didn’t get given the opportunity to get my form back like I had hoped but the team was performing well and players in my position took their chance. That is how football works.”

The imminent signing of £25million man Jefferson Lerma will significantly bolster manager Eddie Howe's central midfield options.

And with competition fierce for a staring place, Arter said his focus was on trying to secure regular football.

“I feel very fit and mentally, most importantly, ready for the season,” added Arter. “My only focus is on playing every week and giving myself the opportunity.

“I’m not demanding or saying I want guaranteed first-team football. I just want to get myself in the team and, hopefully, keep myself in it.

“I have worked so hard. As soon as the season finished, I was running and came back as fit as I think I ever have for Bournemouth.

“I'm sure that has been noted by the sports scientist staff and the manager. I’m just working hard to make sure I’m playing football week in, week out.”

Arter joined Cherries from Woking in 2010 for just £4,000 and played an instrumental role in the club’s rise to the Premier League.

However, he admitted this counted for nothing when it came to Howe picking who should be in the starting line-up.

Arter said: “If someone comes in and performs well, no matter whether I have been here for eight months or eight years, it is irrelevant.

"They took their chance and the manager made a decision to not involve me probably as much as I hoped. But it is his decision. He is the manager, he gets paid to make the big decisions.

“I feel he has never had a problem with my attitude or with the way I have reacted to his decisions. That respect will always be there between me and the manager through the good and the bad.

“Hopefully, he understands the position I am in where I just want to play.

“To say I have worked hard to get where I am personally, it has been a unique journey to achieve what I have in quite a short space of time, but even more so to do it with the club that took a chance on me.

“As I have always said, respect and being thankful to the club and to the manager, there is no animosity between anyone here. He respects me as a person and a player and he knows I love football.”