MUCH has been written about Eddie Howe’s finest moments in the Cherries hot seat – but the acquisition of David Brooks could prove to be one of his most cherished signings.

When Howe stepped in to save the Dorset club from the League Two trapdoor, an 11-year-old Brooks enjoyed the experience of youth football at Manchester City.

Jump forward 10 years and you find a Cherries boss with the freedom of the borough and a Wales international with a long-term contract at Vitality Stadium to reward a sublime start to life in the Premier League.

It should not be forgotten Brooks only spent one season as a regular in Sheffield United’s first team before he switched to the south coast for a fee understood to be £10m, potentially rising to £11.5m.

Given the fees exchanged in football this deal now looks nothing short of an incredible bargain.

In January, speculation linked Brooks with Manchester United and Tottenham. From his 26 Cherries appearances, the reasons for such suitors are clear.

Across the Premier League this season, only two midfielders – Gylfi Sigurdsson and Felipe Anderson – have scored more non-penalty goals than Brooks.

The Warrington wizard’s tally of six goals and four assists compliments the totals from Joshua King (12), Ryan Fraser (14) and Callum Wilson (15) in Cherries’ fierce four-pronged attack.

Howe’s own assessments of Brooks highlight just how easily he slotted into the realm of top-flight football.

After signing him last summer, Howe told the Cherries website: “We’ve seen enough to suggest he is a player who could be outstanding at this level in the future if he develops in the right way and is willing to learn and improve.”

This week the manager told the Daily Echo: “I haven’t been surprised on the ability side and the technical level. The intelligence was always there. It’s been more the physicality and his ability to do a great job defensively.”

No performance showcased these attributes more than January’s 4-0 victory against Chelsea’s global superstars.

In the first half, he nullified £57million conductor Jorginho before, in the second half, terrorising the Italy international and £68million pair David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger.

Such is the high standard Brooks set since his arrival, it would be difficult to view him as the benchmark for all future transfer business.

Instead, he should be viewed as the ideal to aspire to and an inspiration to other talents signing on the dotted line at Vitality Stadium.

While Brooks seized his chance in Cherries’ first team with both hands, many hopefuls around the country are not handed the same opportunity to blossom on the highest stage.

Howe’s pursuit of young British talent largely defines recruitment in recent years and his decision to play the fledgling stars is rare compared to other Premier League bosses.

The freedom of youth runs through the Cherries squad and Howe is willing to let them flourish.