CHERRIES legend Steve Cook admitted it had been a “difficult time” having been left out of the first-team squad but insisted he was “still desperate to contribute”.

The centre-half, who recently passed a decade of service to the Dorset outfit, has not featured in any of the matchday groups for Cherries’ 17 league contests this campaign.

He played 90 minutes in the 6-0 Carabao Cup defeat against Norwich back in August, his only senior minutes at the club under boss Scott Parker.

Cook, 30, is under contract at Cherries until the end of the season and still holds the role of club captain at Vitality Stadium.

Speaking in an interview with UTCIAD - AFC Bournemouth Fans Channel, the Hastings-born star was asked what he felt his future held, both at Cherries and beyond.

He replied: “Obviously for myself at the moment, a really difficult time being out the team, out of the squad. It’s really difficult for myself.

“I think I have missed 20 games in six years. I am probably approaching 20 games in one season at the moment. It’s definitely different for myself.

“I am kind of enjoying the different things I am doing at the moment.

“I am still working extremely hard in training and I’ve got a fire kind of burning inside me at the moment to lead to wherever it goes in the next few months, few weeks.

“Initially my future is… at the moment, I can’t say. There’s no real thoughts at the moment – I am kind of still desperate to contribute but we will see what happens.

“In terms of my future after football, I am currently doing my A-Licence and I am coaching.

“Whether or not I want to go into coaching or management I am really not sure but I am desperate to learn about the game, keep busy now as well.

“I am enjoying that. I go down to the academy, Bournemouth academy and help out there – get my hours in, get some experience and I am really enjoying that side of the game.

“Who knows what can happen in a few weeks? The team are doing unbelievably well on the pitch. I am just trying to support the lads, the younger players in and around the training ground as much as I can, for all the time I am at the club.”

Cook has been at Cherries since initially arriving on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in October 2011.

Having quickly made his move permanent, the centre-back became a stalwart in the squad and has now racked up 385 Cherries appearances, scoring 21 goals along the way.

In that time, he has played a key role in promotions from both League One and the Championship, as well as five seasons in the top flight.

“I have been very lucky, very fortunate the way my career has panned out,” he added.

“Every moment I have had has happened for a reason.

“I sit here now as a 30-year-old man – still plenty to give in the game – really excited to what my future holds.

“My past, I would not change one thing. Not one result, not one club because it’s led me here. I’ve loved every moment.

“I have kind of really enjoyed the rollercoaster ride and I am hoping the rollercoaster for me is still kind of there. I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for me now.

“I never thought I would (be) in a place right now where I thought I’d be but kind of now I am really enjoying where I’m going to be, or enjoying the challenge of training, working hard, the mental side of it.

“I wouldn’t change anything because my life, my career has been really enjoyable to date.”