EDDIE Howe says Chris Mepham's recent performances for Wales "speaks volumes for his professionalism", adding how he has made "huge strides" since joining the club in January.

Mepham, 22, played a full part in the heart of the Wales defence for their final two must-win qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary earlier this month, helping his nation to back-to-back victories with a pair of clean sheets to seal their spot at Euro 2020.

Chances have been hard to come by domestically this campaign for Mepham with just five appearances in all competitions for Cherries, and only one minute of Premier League action since August, due to the form of centre-back pair Steve Cook and Nathan Ake.

But Howe was keeping a watchful eye on the defender's exploits for Wales.

"He’s done really well," the Cherries boss told the Daily Echo.

"I’m really pleased for Chris. I watched both games and he played very well, especially when you consider he’s not been having regular football for us.

"So to step in in those high-pressure games and do as well as he did I think speaks volumes for his professionalism and how much he’s much he’s worked at his game, even though he’s not been playing.

"I think that will do him the world of good."

Following a host of injuries to the squad towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign, Mepham was given a swift introduction to top-flight action having arrived for £12million from Championship side Brentford.

The Hammersmith-born ace featured in 13 of the 15 Premier League matches after his arrival last season, starting 10.

And despite a lack of recent game time, Howe has been impressed by the improvement of Mepham.

He said: "I think he’s made huge strides. He was really chucked in at the deep end at times last year because we signed him, we didn’t have much time to work with him in training and he was thrust into the team.

"I thought he did really well and showed mentally that he’s got a really good character to play in these types of high-pressure games.

"This season the competition for places at the back has been really high for us and the back four in the main I think has played pretty well, so big competition for places.

"But I think it keeps our centre-backs on their toes, knowing they’ve got such quality players ready to take their place if they step off the levels they’ve been playing at."

Howe continued: "Chris, when he came to us was an outstanding player and I think he’s just developing all the time. He’s still very, very young for a centre-back and I think because of his character and the way he conducts himself, I think you, or I certainly do, sometimes think he’s older than he is.

"So he’s had good experience for such a young player and he’ll only get better from this point.

"I think he’s got a very bright future ahead of him."