'We need to look after him' - Parker outlines the biggest challenges facing Jaidon Anthony

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Jaidon Anthony was benched against Hull (Picture: Richard Crease)
Jaidon Anthony was benched against Hull (Picture: Richard Crease)

SCOTT Parker admitted he is wary of putting too much strain on youngster Jaidon Anthony, admitting: "We need to look after him and make sure we don't burn him out."

Anthony, 22, has played a starring role for Cherries since Parker's arrival last summer.

Having made seven appearances last season, all as a substitute, Anthony developed into one of the first names on Cherries' teamsheet this term.

The former Arsenal winger has played in all 27 of Cherries' league matches this season, 23 of which have come as a starter.

He has scored six goals in the second tier, only behind Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke in the club's Championship scoring charts, as well as providing four assists.

However, his form has dipped in recent weeks. Anthony has not completed 90 minutes since a 2-2 draw with Coventry in November.

In the past two fixtures, he was withdrawn at half-time during the 3-2 loss at Luton Town, before being introduced in the second half as Cherries were beaten 1-0 by Hull City at Vitality Stadium, with Jamal Lowe preferred from the off.

"I think where Jaidon is currently, it is a tactical decision," explained Parker.

"I didn’t think he was at his best (against Luton), I didn’t think he was where he needed to be, hence why we did that (subbed him off at half-time).

"Jaidon is a young boy, who has come into the first-team environment having never, ever been involved in it.

"He’s probably played literally a handful of games (before), if that. This season, what’s been asked of him, at times he’s a regular starter.

"He’s a young boy that I need to look after, we need to look after and understand this is all very new to him.

"He’s done fantastically well, and I’ve been delighted with him. He’s been a major focal point of everything that’s been good about us at times.

"But at the same time, he’s probably going to need some air and a little bit of oxygen. I need to be aware of that and keep an eye of that."

Asked what the biggest challenges facing Anthony are at present, Parker added: "Tactically, nothing. Tactically he nails things. He understands game model, he understands what is expected of him. He could probably dissect and explain the game model just as good as I could when I’m trying to explain it to him.

"If I brought a new player in here tomorrow who was a winger and I asked Jaidon to sit down and explain what’s expected of a left-winger in my team, I think Jaidon would be able to go through everything with them and explain it to them.

"Emotional, psychology side of the game, the relentlessness is probably the biggest thing because he’s just not played a full season in the intenseness of what professional football is.

"Going to try and get promoted this year and what that brings. I think there’s definitely an element of that.

"He’s a young boy, so dips in and out of form, there’s massive elements of that as well. That’s the main thing I’m focused on.

"I know he’s got massive quality, I know he can help us, but just need to get the balance right with Jaidon.

"We need to look after him and make sure we don’t burn him out. Make sure he’s fresh, he understands things and just keep the handbrake right off."

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