Bournemouth newcomer Mepham braced for tough introduction to Premier League

New Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham expects Premier League football to be “10 times harder” than the Championship as he prepares for a potential debut against Gonzalo Higuain.

Centre-back Mepham completed a £12million move from Brentford on Tuesday and is vying for a place in the Cherries team to face Chelsea on Wednesday evening.

The 21-year-old could come up against striker Higuain at the Vitality Stadium after the Argentinian completed a loan switch to Stamford Bridge in midweek.

Wales international Mepham is relishing the prospect of testing himself against the division’s top marksmen, with Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero among his possible opponents before the end of the season.

“Since I was a little boy my dream was to play in the Premier League and I think there’s no better way than to showcase it against those top players and see what you’re at,” he said.

“I know it’s going to be very hard.

“Playing in the Championship, you come across some very good strikers, I’d imagine the step up to the Premier League’s going to be 10 times harder.

“It’s something I need to work hard towards but I’d love playing against people like that every week.”

Released by Chelsea at the age of 14 and subsequently rejected by Watford and boyhood club QPR, Mepham dropped into amateur football with North Greenford reserves before being scouted by Brentford.

He was a long-term target of Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe while at Griffin Park and moved to the south coast having made 43 second-tier appearances for the Bees.

Mepham also won four caps for his country during that time and believes his transfer will be welcome news for national team manager Ryan Giggs.

“I think he (Giggs) spoke to my agent recently, just wishing us well done on the deal,” said Mepham.

“I think it’s going to be good for him as well.

“Being a national team manager you want as many players playing in the Premier League as possible.

“It seems not too long ago that I was playing for North Greenford reserves, so it does show how far I’ve come.”

Mepham joins Wales team-mate David Brooks in Dorset.

Winger Brooks has impressed for Eddie Howe’s Cherries since making the step up from the Championship by moving from Sheffield United for £10million during the summer.

Brooks has scored five Premier League goals in 21 appearances, and Mepham hopes to make a similar positive impact.

“He (Brooks) couldn’t speak highly enough about the club and he said that his development has been massive since he’s come here,” said Mepham.

“I think it took him by surprise how many games he’s played and I’m hoping to have the same sort of progression.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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