Twelve months ago, Jaidon Anthony was hoping he’d done enough in pre-season to impress Scott Parker and perhaps get a bit more game time for Bournemouth in the Championship.
He got that and a whole lot more. The winger played in all but one of their league games and shone in a stunning breakthrough campaign as the Cherries sealed a triumphant return to the Premier League.
The 22-year-old suited Parker’s plans perfectly, scoring eight goals and laying on six more as Bournemouth pipped Nottingham Forest to automatic promotion in a tense final week.
Jaidon Anthony enjoyed an excellent breakthrough campaign in 2021-22 as Bournemouth won automatic promotion back to the Premier League. He scored eight goals and assisted six more
Electric winger Anthony fitted into Scott Parker’s game plan perfectly and they are seen during the celebrations that followed Bournemouth’s promotion-sealing win over Nottingham Forest
Never one to stand still for too long, especially when tearing through opponents on the left flank, Anthony intends to approach his maiden top-flight campaign without any fear.
That is the right mindset because the fixture computer hasn’t exactly blessed Bournemouth with a soft landing on their Premier League return after two years away.
They open at home to Aston Villa on Saturday but then face daunting trips to Manchester City and Liverpool either side of an encounter with Arsenal. Welcome back to the big time!
‘I feel like every game is going to be tough but then to get all those big teams in the early days,’ Anthony tells Sportsmail on the eve of the new season.
‘But you never know what you’re going to get at the start of the season, it might be a good time to catch them.
Anthony (left) celebrated with Lewis Cook (centre) and Jordan Zemura (right) after Bournemouth scored against Bristol City during their promotion run-in
Now Anthony (pictured with Jamal Lowe) is gearing up for his first Premier League campaign
Cherries’ tough start
Saturday Aston Villa (H)
August 13 Man City (A)
August 20 Arsenal (H)
August 27 Liverpool (A)
August 31 Wolves (H)
September 3 Nottingham Forest (A)
‘That’s the way I’m going into it, looking to impress and hopefully get some points on the board.
‘I always get a buzz off playing in front of big crowds, showing what I can do and hopefully I’ll thrive off that energy.
‘There’s no fear at all. There is nothing to be scared of, it is a game of football at the end of the day.
‘We know they have quality players but on our day, we can have a good game against anyone and that will be out attitude going into all of the games.’
Anthony, who hails from Hackney in London and spent time in Arsenal’s academy as a teenager, made his initial breakthrough into the Bournemouth team during 2020-21 under Jason Tindall and then Jonathan Woodgate.
But when Arnaut Danjuma moved to Villarreal, Parker saw a ready-made replacement on the left wing in Anthony and his faith was certainly repaid.
It was a curious season for Bournemouth at times. Under intense pressure to get back to the top division, they started superbly and went unbeaten until their 16th game against Preston on November 2.
That was the trigger for a mid-season wobble that raised fears they might once again be consigned to the uncertainty of the play-offs.
Bournemouth’s players enjoy the promotion celebrations at the end of last season
Anthony played all but one of Bournemouth’s Championship games during a great season
Jaidon Anthony factfile
Anthony was born and raised in Hackney. He spent 10 years in Arsenal’s academy alongside the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson.
Arsenal released him at the age of 16 but found a route back into the game thanks to Godfrey Torto and the Ask Godders Group.
The winger signed for Bournemouth’s academy after a successful trial in 2016 and worked his way up to the first team.
Made his first-team debut in December 2020 and played seven times that season under Jason Tindall and Jonathan Woodgate.
Scott Parker promoted Anthony to key first team player ahead of 2021-22 and the winger scored eight goals as Bournemouth secured their Premier League return.
But they found a second wind and lost only one of their last 14 games to go up alongside Parker’s old club Fulham. A 1-0 home win over Forest in the final week of the season saw them over the line.
‘It was a crazy year,’ reflects Anthony. ‘I hoped to play as many games as possible, so to come away having played 45 in the league was more than I hoped for.
‘Then to achieve the success as well, I was buzzing with the whole year.
‘I didn’t just want to be a passenger on the team, I wanted to make an impact.
‘I was glad with the numbers and, to be honest, I thought I could have got a lot more looking back. Hopefully I can keep improving on my end product.
‘Scott has been top with me ever since he came in. He has instilled that belief in me and hopefully I have repaid it on the pitch and I will keep trying to do so.
‘I feel every time I go on the pitch, I give 100 per cent and that won’t ever change.
‘It’s a great relationship and hopefully we can create some more good memories together.’
Those numbers were especially impressive when paired with Jordan Zemura, a Zimbabwe international left-back.
The team lost only two of 32 games when Anthony and Zemura worked in tandem, the Bournemouth Daily Echo calculated, and the team’s points average went up from 1.91 overall to 2.33 last season when they played together.
Despite this week’s arrival of Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough, Parker might be well-advised to stick with this successful partnership.
‘We came through together, we were in the under-21s and then signed professional,’ says Anthony.
Anthony, Zemura and Lowe welcome new signing Marcus Tavernier to Bournemouth
Anthony and agent Godfrey Torto mark Bournemouth’s ascent back to the Premier League
‘We have played a lot of football together and developed that understanding. I think we are just so close off the pitch as well.
‘On it, I know what he wants and he knows what I want so we have always managed to do well together, feed each other well and support each other.’
Parker encouraged a front foot style last season which ensured Bournemouth were able to dominate a good number of games in the Championship.
But there has been an acceptance around the camp that the Cherries won’t be able to control proceedings in quite the same manner in the Premier League.
Unfortunately, it is the lot of any newly-promoted side that they are automatically favourites with pundits and bookmakers to go straight back down again. Bournemouth are no exception.
Cherries manager Scott Parker has been working hard on adaptable game plans as they prepare for the step up back to the Premier League
‘He [Parker] is very big on how it is going to be a step up and you might see a different style of play from us in certain games,’ Anthony explains.
‘We have been working hard to be good at the things we will need, like set pieces. Hopefully we can be successful in our new methods and prove a lot of people wrong.
‘We have to be adaptable. Our game plan is still to dominate the ball in games but we understand the level goes up and there are a lot of teams that will try and dominate us.
‘It’s about adapting to a different style and being hard to beat. That is something we have been working on.
‘Without belief it isn’t going to be possible and it our squad we have the utmost belief in ourselves about what we can achieve.’