MANAGER Eddie Howe heaped praise on defender Chris Mepham’s colossal display against Chelsea, describing it as his “best game” for Cherries.

The Wales international enjoyed a fairytale return to his former club, who released him as a youngster having been on the books at Stamford Bridge.

Having featured 22 times in all competitions since signing from Brentford 11 months ago, Mepham partnered skipper Simon Francis at centre-half during Cherries’ sublime 1-0 success in west London.

“I thought that was the best game he has had for the club. I thought he really grew in stature,” said Howe, when speaking about 22-year-old Mepham.

“The aerial duels he won, the physicality and aggression he needed to show in his game was there.

“I thought him and Simon did really well, signs hopefully that could be a good partnership for us.

“They were really well supported by the two full-backs in Diego (Rico) and Jack (Stacey). They have done well when they have been paired together in the same team.”