GOALKEEPER Asmir Begovic described what it was like to feature alongside Jonathan Woodgate as a player and insisted: “The way he looked at the game was fantastic.”

Woodgate was a team-mate of Begovic’s during the 2011-12 campaign, when the pair plied their trade at Stoke City.

They lined up alongside one another 10 times in the Premier League and Europa League.

Now reunited with the Cherries head coach as his boss nine years on, Begovic is looking to get back to the top level with the Dorset club via the Championship play-offs.

But asked what it was like to feature alongside Woodgate as a player, the Bosnian keeper told the Daily Echo: “He was probably towards the back end of his career but you saw the quality he had.

“Obviously his body and the injuries couldn’t quite handle everything but a top player. You saw bits of class.

“The games he played, you saw the knowledge, you see his brain – the way he looked at the game was fantastic. A top, top player and a really top person as well.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Woodgate succeeded sacked boss Jason Tindall in February, following an interim spell in charge of Cherries.

The former England defender sent his troops on a seven-game winning run in the league to ensure they would finish in the play-off spots.

Comparing his relationship with Woodgate now, Begovic said: “He’s our boss. We have to listen to him, he’s got a presence, of course.

“He has a philosophy in the way he wants to play – I think he’s brought that across to the lads. It took a little bit of time as it always does.

“But he’s got the respect of the players that’s for sure. He’s got really good staff as well. His message had been clear and we’re enjoying playing for him.”

Begovic has played 43 times for Cherries in the Championship this season, keeping 15 clean sheets.

His displays have earned him a place alongside winger Arnaut Danjuma in the Championship team of the season.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed a resurgence at Vitality Stadium following spells on loan at Qarabag and Milan during the 2019-20 campaign.

Asked what it was like to be back on the south coast, the stopper said: “It’s nice. I enjoyed my year away I guess.

“You could say I had some really great experiences – I loved every minute of everything.

“I loved experiencing different leagues, different football and I think I learned a lot from it. It made me better as a player and I’ve come back here and really bought into what we need to do.

“Promotion is the aim and I’m enjoying it.

“It’s a great group of guys, I’ve always enjoyed the club, it’s a lovely place and we’ve got a great goalkeeping group to work with as well with our coaches and the goalkeepers.

“It’s a pleasure to work every day and I am having a lot of fun.”

Begovic is set to be part of Cherries’ squad to head to struggling Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow (3pm).