CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe watched Ryan Fraser rip apart Leicester City before admitting the white-hot winger had become a marked man.

Scotland star Fraser was in sensational form in the 4-2 win at Vitality Stadium on Saturday, capping an all-action display with two well-taken goals and an assist for Adam Smith.

The 24-year-old’s brace increased to four goals in six games his tally for the season, earning him plaudits from far and wide including Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer.

Fraser, who joined Cherries from Aberdeen for £400,000 five and a half years ago, spent the club’s maiden season in the top flight on loan at Ipswich Town in the second tier.

And having impressed in making 54 Premier League outings over the following two campaigns, he has started 2018-19 in the form of his life.

Asked if Fraser had become the player Howe anticipated he would when he signed him, the boss told the Daily Echo: “It’s difficult to say you can foresee anything and can say ‘Ryan Fraser can be this’. But we saw a real talent with him – a player who had athletic and technical qualities of a very good level.

“Whether a player then puts in the hard yards to improve is up to them. He didn’t have success straight away but he had graft and patience and that is why he is doing what he is at the moment.

“Slowly but surely, he improved every day. That deserves the recognition – the fact he was prepared to wait.

“I’m really pleased for him on a personal level because I know how difficult his journey has been.

“Mentally, he has looked very strong and that has been a key thing with his recent form.

“Last season he did well for us but didn’t quite get the goals and the headlines he is getting now.

“Goals will naturally bring headlines and I’m pleased he’s getting them because he is defining matches for us.

“Finding consistency, especially when you are a marked man and people know about you, is his next challenge to overcome. Certainly, he has the ability to do it.”

Howe has often received acclaim for his development of young players, with Fraser and Lewis Cook among those to flourish after biding their time.

Discussing further the importance of patience, the boss said: “Everyone wants things right this second. Sometimes you have to say ‘you have stuff to work on, go away and work on it and then you will get there’.

“There are some players who can’t handle that part of it and then seek football elsewhere. I think the wise ones see they are in an environment which is catered for improvement and maximising their ability.

“Hopefully, they see that and are prepared to do the work they need to.”

Fraser’s highest goals tally in a campaign for Cherries is six – which he reached last season.

Sitting just two short of that total already in 2018-19, the wide man appears on course to beat his personal record.