JERMAIN Defoe backed fellow frontman Lys Mousset to shine and insisted: “He could have a season where he is unbelievable.”

The former France under-21 international has found his game time limited in the top flight this campaign, coming off the bench in four of Cherries’ eight fixtures.

Mousset has started alongside Defoe in both of the Dorset club’s Carabao Cup battles, helping Eddie Howe’s men seal victories over MK Dons and Blackburn Rovers.

And Defoe and Mousset will hope to be drafted in for Saturday’s Premier League showdown at home to Southampton (3pm).

Defoe, who has 57 England caps, said: “Lys is unbelievable. He’s so powerful.

“I keep telling him he could be whatever he wants to be. He could have a season where he is unbelievable. He is so strong, he can finish and I think it’s a big year for him.

“When you look at the group of players we have here, it’s the same forwards as we had last season.

“We have better relationships now than last season because we know each other and it’s another year together – another forward hasn’t come in.

“Callum (Wilson) has been here for years. He’s a goalscorer and a natural number nine, similar to myself.

“Josh will score goals. He had that season where he scored 16 goals and he can play as a nine, 10 or out wide.

“When you have other players who can score goals – not that it’s less pressure for you – but if you go through a spell during the season where you haven’t scored, there are other players that will and it’s good for the team. You can still win games.”

With 162 top-flight strikes, Defoe is seventh on the all-time list of Premier League goal-getters. He is the highest scorer still active at England’s elite level.

The 36-year-old is just six appearances away from reaching 500 Premier League games – a feat only 12 players have managed to achieve.

Playing in 11 further top-flight contests would mean Defoe would surpass the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Sol Campbell and Paul Scholes and break into the top 10.

He told ESPN: "It's giving away my age, but obviously it's special.

"When you are at West Ham in the youth team, you are dreaming about playing in the Premier League, so to reach 500 games is a massive achievement for any player.

"And there are some real legends on that list – Giggs, Gerrard, Lamps, Rio.

"I just love playing and scoring goals. I love it here at Bournemouth and love being in the Premier League and I want to carry on as long as possible."