SCOTT Parker believes Ethan Laird will take “massive learning” from his short time at Cherries so far, admitting the youngster has “had it pretty tough” since arriving at Vitality Stadium.

Laird joined Cherries on loan from Manchester United in January, cutting short a previous loan spell at Swansea City.

The 20-year-old featured regularly for the Swans, before suffering an injury in mid-December.

The full-back took some time to regain fitness after arriving at Cherries, before Parker deemed him not ready physically or tactically to be involved in the first team after two substitute appearances, either side of the beginning of March.

Laird was then not even part of Cherries’ matchday squad for six of the following seven fixtures, before an injury to Jordan Zemura opened up a spot in the team.

Rather than turning to Jack Stacey or Leif Davis, who had featured more recently, Parker opted to switch Adam Smith to left-back and hand Laird his first start for the club.

Having kept a clean sheet against Middlesbrough, the England under-19 international kept his spot for Monday’s win at Coventry City.

Discussing Laird’s return to the team, Parker told the Daily Echo: “He’s done very well. I’ve been very pleased with him.

“Why I’m pleased for him is because he had it pretty tough, to be honest with you.

“He’s come into the building, was injured, spent a long time out. He then had it tough in terms of trying to get into the team and even around the team.

“I was always in close dialogue with him, explaining to him, being very honest with him what he needed to do, what he needs to bring and how he needs to apply himself to get himself in the team.

“And he’s done every bit of it and he’s earned his right to be in the side.

“He’s waited for a moment. He’s now come in for the last two games and I’ve been very pleased with him. He needs to maintain that now, and keep it where it is.”

Laird has made two first-team appearances for Man Utd, both in the Europa League in 2019, before heading out to Milton Keynes Dons on loan.

Asked how impressed he has been by the Basingstoke-born talent’s attitude during his time out of the Cherries team, Parker said: “That will be a massive learning for him, to be honest with you. It will be massive, massive learning.

“Although he probably doesn’t feel it at the time or doesn’t feel it while it’s happening, the reaction of one in those moments, certainly someone so young – Man United, Swansea, where he played every week and then came here, got injured, which obviously is not his fault and then didn’t get the team, was probably very easy to feel a bit sorry for himself.

“Asked questions in his head like ‘why have I done it? I’ve come here and I’m not even playing’, blah, blah, blah. He’s done totally the opposite.

“What he’s done is he’s rolled his sleeves up, took everything on board, took everything on the chin I have said to him and come every day with an attitude that he wants to improve and wants to get in this team.

“And like I always say, if you do that, then nine times out of 10 in life experiences, they tell me that you do get your chance and you get in.

“That’s why I believe it’s big learning for Ethan in that sense really.”

Laird will hope to keep his place for tomorrow’s visit of Fulham to Vitality Stadium (3pm).