JAIDON Anthony insists he was always confident he could make the breakthrough at Cherries, as he reflected on a "special year" with the club.

Prior to Scott Parker's arrival last summer, Anthony had been restricted to just seven senior appearances, which all came as a substitute.

But the talented winger instantly impressed the new boss, becoming the first man to score under his regime, in a 4-2 pre-season friendly win over Spanish outfit Real Balompedica Linense.

The former Arsenal academy ace never looked back, making the joint most appearances (48) in the squad by the end of the 2021-22 campaign, the same tally as top scorer Dominic Solanke.

Of those, 41 were starts, with the 22-year-old ending the campaign having scored eight goals and provided seven assists.

Asked if ever doubted whether he would ever get the chance to prove himself in the first team at Cherries, Anthony told the Daily Echo: "I always had the belief, even last year (20-21 season) I’d say that I always felt ready when called upon.

"Obviously I didn’t get as many chances, but it was a tough squad to break in to.

"The new manager came in and it was sort of a clean slate and a chance to impress.

"I just gave everything in pre-season and I’m grateful I’ve been able to stay in the team for as long as I have and had such an impact. It’s been a special year, definitely."

Discussing his record of topping the appearance charts, Anthony added: "I’ve said all the way along I’m just so grateful to the staff, the manager for the faith they put into me.

"It’s been a special year. If you’d asked me 12 months ago if I’d be in this position, I probably would’ve laughed so it’s been special and hopefully we can have another one next year."


Although a young squad, Cherries boasted a host of internationals and players with top-flight experience to their name as they entered the crunch time of the Championship run-in.


It all culminated with a pressure-cooker atmosphere when Parker's men hosted promotion rivals Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium.

But Cherries rose to the occasion, winning 1-0 and booking their place back in the Premier League.

Reflecting on the pressure going into the Forest clash, Anthony said: "I’d say 100 per cent, definitely the biggest game of my career.

"But I took it as such a big opportunity really. I was so excited. I think you could see in the warm-up how many times I was smiling!

"It was just a great opportunity and I was more excited than anything really.

"When that whistle goes, it all goes out the window and you’ve got a game to play. So it was just switching on and another game that we all did well, we all dug deep and got the job done."

Many members of the current squad were part of the group relegated out of the top flight in 2020.

But for Anthony, should he line up against Aston Villa on August 6, it would represent a Premier League debut.

Asked how confident he is of stepping up again and making his mark at the elite level, Anthony said: "I’ve always had confidence in my ability.

"It’s been a special year. Obviously this was the year that a lot of people got to see what I could do and hopefully the level goes up again, I keep improving and learning and keep progressing as a player and hopefully I can have a successful year in the Premier League."