DEFENDER Nathan Ake insisted an increase in game time had been “exactly what I needed” as he continues to thrive in a Cherries shirt.

The 23-year-old has featured in more competitive clashes at senior level this season than in any other campaign.

A £20million club record signing from Chelsea last summer, Ake has played in every Premier League fixture this season for Eddie Howe’s men.

The Dutchman was announced as the club’s player of the month for February, beating Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Lys Mousset in a Twitter poll.

It was the fifth time he had won the accolade – Jordon Ibe took the spoils in September with Callum Wilson the recipient in January.

Asked by team-mate Asmir Begovic on his Season of Sports podcast how he felt his campaign was going, Ake replied: “I think, personally, it has been okay. The start was a bit tough.

“I had to adapt a bit but I adjusted and it’s going well and was exactly what I needed – to play a full season in the Premier League.

"So far it has been week in, week out and I think I have been learning a lot.”

The former Feyenoord youngster has been an integral part of a Cherries side which sits 12th in the league table.

“The main thing is to get to 40 points as quickly as possible,” he added.

“The games coming up are really important and, hopefully, we can get some wins and see where we can finish.

"We want to do better than last season. That was 46 points and, hopefully, we can get more.”