EMERGING talent Joe Partington says he is determined to fulfil his burning ambition and break into Cherries' starting line-up.

The 17-year-old central midfielder has produced commanding performances for the youth team this season and is highly thought of at Dean Court.

And the self-effacing youngster also coped admirably with the undesired pressure of being signed while suffering from a broken ankle, after being released from south coast neighbours Portsmouth last year.

Although yet to make his first team debut, Partington is on the periphery of the squad and willing to wait as long as it takes for boss Kevin Bond to give him an opportunity.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo, the teenager said: "I'm just keeping my head down and trying to train well, and I know that if I keep working hard then my chance will come.

"I've been on the bench a few times this season and thought that I might get on the pitch but so far I haven't been able to show what I can do.

"It meant a lot to me to sign for the club, especially while I had the injury because it shows that they had a lot of faith in me and saw something about me they liked."

Partington also praised the spirit and camaraderie in the youth set-up. He said: "All the boys in the youth team help each other along and motivate one another.

"We all want to play in the first team and we're all in the same position so if we help each other we're also helping the club."

Despite being just 17, the former Pompey player has crammed in an enviable amount of football into a promising but, so far, short career.

He represented Wales at under-17 level but progressed so quickly that he is now captain of the under-19s.

And, although many would crumble under the pressure of leading their country at a young age, Partington is endearingly mature.

He said: "It's an incredible honour to represent my country, especially as captain, and I really didn't expect to be doing it at this age.

"I'm not thinking too much about the international side of things at the moment. All I want to do, and what I'm putting all my energy towards, is trying to get into the first team and cement my place."

Head of youth Joe Roach has formed a high opinion of the Cherries youngster and, although aware it was a gamble to sign an injured player, the abundant potential Partington had shown outweighed the risks.

Roach said: "Joe was injured at the time and we took a bit of a chance on how he would recover. He's worked really hard and developed his game.

"And he's now gone with our first team and hopefully he may get the opportunity to make his first appearance. I hope he's given the opportunity to progress at this club."