SIMON Francis hailed the attitude of “great guy” Andrew Surman, after he made his Premier League return on Sunday.

The 33-year-old was selected in place of the suspended Jefferson Lerma for Cherries’ clash at Sheffield United – the first time he had started a top-flight contest in 11 months.

Surman had made three previous Premier League appearances this campaign, all as a substitute with the most recent coming at Southampton in September.

The midfield ace played 88 minutes before being replaced by Dominic Solanke and while he could not prevent the 2-1 defeat at Bramall Lane, skipper Francis praised the display of Surman.

“Surs did really well,” Francis told the Daily Echo.

“He brings that composure and calmness to the team. When we need to get the ball down, when we need to make a pass or two, he’s always there.

“He’s always on, he doesn’t get flustered in those situations and I thought when we did build up and played our football, it normally came through Surs.

“He’ll be delighted to get (almost) 90 minutes under his belt but he’ll be gutted as well that we lost the game.”

Johannesburg-born Surman joined Cherries in 2013, initially on loan, and played a key role in their promotion from the Championship. He also spent time on loan at the club in the 2005-06 campaign and has made more than 200 appearances in total.

The central midfielder, who was recently named in Echo readers’ team of the decade, has had to settle for a bit-part role this campaign, with his contract set to expire in the summer.

And having been a team-mate of the former Norwich City man for almost seven years, Francis is well aware of what Surman brings to the Cherries squad, even when he is not on the pitch.

“He’s just a great guy,” said Francis.

“He’s one of my close mates within the team and although he hasn’t played as many games as he wanted, he’s shown the right attitude, a great attitude to be supporting the boys no matter what and that’s all you can do when you’re not in the team.

“When you get your chance, take it and I thought he did well on Sunday.”

He continued: “He’s vice-captain of the football club as well so he knows what comes with that role and the responsibility of being a leader for the team, even when he’s not playing.

“He’s a voice in and around the changing room and he’s been excellent all season really.

“He’s one of those senior players like myself who are lucky to be playing games week in, week out now at this level, especially coming in on Sunday like Surs.

“He’ll be delighted that he’s back in the team and hopefully he can keep that place for next week.”