EDDIE Howe insisted motivated youngster Alex Dobre had made “huge strides” as he faces “the hardest” task to make inroads in Cherries’ first team.

The forward revealed how he had left his house in Romania at 14 to pave the way to becoming a professional footballer, in a bid to make his “dream” of playing in the Premier League come true.

Dobre’s drive and determination brought him to Cherries in 2016 as part of the under-21 setup at Vitality Stadium.

Now training with Howe’s first team, the Bucharest-born talent is yet to feature in a senior game for the club.

Formerly of Viitorul Constanta, Dobre scored the winner in Cherries’ Premier League Cup group opener against Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium last month, in front of manager Howe.

He also netted twice in a 4-1 friendly victory over Oxford United.

The 21-year-old could feature against Stoke City in Shaun Cooper’s side’s second group game at Vitality Stadium on Friday (7pm).

Asked about Dobre’s journey with the club, Howe told the Daily Echo: “He’s got a very interesting story and interesting background and that’s the beauty of football. You get people from all sorts of different beginnings to get to this point now.

“His is one of struggle really. Of real fighting for his profession to make it as a footballer against all the odds and that’s really good to see. It’s nice to have that story as a backdrop to what he’s doing.

“Alex is someone who is very highly motivated in training, works incredibly hard, has this vision of what he wants for the future and he’s working now to try to make that happen.

“I can make him no promises to that – that’s going to be down to him really and what happens from this point.

“He has made huge strides in a lot of areas of his game and, being with us (the first team) around the training group would have done him the world of good.

“He has probably now got the hardest bit to bridge and that’s to actually get game time and with the players he is competing against, that’s going to be very difficult.”

Speaking with the Daily Echo last month, Dobre said: “I think he (Howe) likes my attitude, how I think. Every time he tells me ‘Alex, keep working hard, keep working hard and your chance will come’.

“This is what I need to do, I am focused.”

Quizzed on what Dobre had to do to make it at England’s top level, Howe replied: “I think with Alex, he has to improve his overall decision making on the pitch.

“As a wide, forward player he needs to focus on his product. Goals, assists, things that will decide games he has to bring up to the Premier League standard.”