ANDREW Surman admitted Eddie Howe’s “door is always open” but insisted he would never cross the line with the Cherries boss.

The 31-year-old last month penned a fresh contract extension at Vitality Stadium, keeping him at the club until at least the summer of 2020.

Surman has made 197 appearances in all competitions for Cherries and played alongside Howe when on loan from Southampton during the 2005-06 League One campaign.

Having featured for every minute during Cherries’ first season in the top flight, the midfielder saw his game time restricted during the second half of their third campaign.

Between Christmas and mid-April last season, he was limited to substitute appearances in the Premier League before playing 90 minutes in the final two fixtures against Swansea and Burnley.

Having held talks with boss Howe, the South Africa born star had a firm indication he was still part of the manager’s plans.

He told the Daily Echo: “I have had conversations with the manager and that’s when you get your idea of what is going to happen in the summer.

“Even though I wasn’t playing (last season), I still felt valued. I still managed to come off the bench and make an impact at times and that’s all you can do.

“The manager tells us all the time, even if you are not starting, you are still a major part of the squad and team.

“He is good, he’s very open. His door is always open and if you want to have a chat about anything, on or off the pitch, he is very approachable.

“We are not friends, he is my boss and the manager, you have to respect him for that but he has a good relationship with everyone.

“But you do draw that line because, if you are not performing, he will let you know.”

Surman played 90 minutes during Cherries’ final pre-season friendly, a 5-2 victory over French top-flight outfit Marseille.

With the Dorset club’s Premier League opener at home against Cardiff on Saturday (3pm) the former Wolves and Norwich ace believes competition within the current squad is fiercely intense.

“I want to play as many games as I can and I feel I still have a lot to offer. I would love to be starting that first game of the season,” he added.

“It’s always tough. Nobody is guaranteed their place in the team and it has been the same since I have been here.

“There is always going to be competition for places and I think it’s good. You have to have strength in depth in your squad.

“I think it keeps everyone on their toes – nobody is guaranteed to start, everyone is working hard to fight for their spot for the start of the season.”

Surman has made 121 appearances throughout his Premier League career, scoring six times and providing nine assists.