Eddie Howe insists Lys Mousset has a bright future at Bournemouth despite the French forward struggling for regular action in his first Dean Court campaign.
Bournemouth signed Mousset last summer in a deal worth almost £7million, but has made just 12 appearances this term.
Mousset unwittingly headed home an own goal in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Stoke, but boss Howe still believes the 21-year-old’s best is yet to come next term.
“It was a shame for Lys to score the own goal because I thought he performed well in a difficult team performance,” said Howe.
“The goal was just one of those things that happens, I wish he’d scored in the other net but his time will come, I think he’ll get many goals for us in the future.”
Bournemouth boss Howe remains confident Mousset’s first year on the south coast will not be wasted in the long-run.
“The big thing is he’ll be used to the demand, or our expectations on him,” said Howe.
“When you first come in everything’s new, you don’t know your team mates, how the training’s going to be and what’s required of you physically.
“He now knows all those things, he knows how we play and a lot of his development has been done away from the pitch.
“He’s been able to develop away from the glare of the supporters.
“We’re happy with where he is, in line with our expectations really, and we believe he’s got a really good future.”
Stoke gained just their second point on the road since January with Saturday’s 2-2 draw, with Mame Biram Diouf claiming his first goal of the campaign.
Potters boss Mark Hughes later confirmed Stoke will offer Stephen Ireland a one-year contract extension, as the midfielder continues his rehabilitation from a double leg break.
Ireland suffered the leg fracture in training in May 2016, but Hughes now hopes the 30-year-old can be fully fit in time for pre-season training.
“Stephen’s still recovering from his double leg break,” said Hughes.
“He’s out of contract in the summer so he’s not going to be quite fit when that contract ends, but we’re going to extend it and we’re going to allow him the time to get fit and well, which we think he’s close to.
“He’s in Qatar this week and he’s going to have rehab time there, we did it with Jack Butland as well to good effect, so we’re hopeful when he comes back he’ll be closer to being ready for pre-season. And that’s the hope of us all.”