EDDIE Howe reckons Chris Mepham's demanding start to life in a Cherries shirt will prove a valuable learning tool for the "studious" defender.

Since joining Cherries from Brentford in January for a fee believed to be £12million, Mepham has faced four of the Premier League's Big Six.

The Welsh international was tasked with nullifying the attacking might of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, as well as keeping quiet the frontline of seventh-place Wolves.

Cherries boss Howe said: “All these experiences will be invaluable for Chris. These are big moments in his career and he will be soaking everything up.

“He’s a very studious guy. He’s very serious about his football and has made a really good start.

“He’s been thrown in to a degree due to Steve Cook's injury but he's grown already in the games he’s played and I back him to continue to do so."

Mepham added: “I like to think being calm on the ball is one of my attributes.

“The more I play, the more I can grow into that player who is composed and can drive his team forward."