Afobe makes fly­ing start on mis­sion to prove his class

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - By Luke Ed­wards at the Sta­dium of Light

In a team filled with play­ers dis­carded by Premier League clubs Benik Afobe is in per­fect com­pany. Sold by Arse­nal, he is on a mis­sion to prove it was a mis­take. Plenty of clubs looked at Afobe as he thrived at Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers but only Bournemouth man­ager Ed­die Howe was con­vinced.

At a club-record £10 mil­lion fee, Afobe was not cheap, but like so many other vic­tims of the Premier League im­port ex­plo­sion, the 22-year-old Lon­doner be­lieves he just needed a chance. Two goals in three games in­clud­ing this bril­liant div­ing header sug­gest he has noth­ing to fear. Two of three top scor­ers in the divi­sion, Jamie Vardy and Odion Ighalo, have risen from the lower leagues. Afobe says they are his role mod­els.

“I want to make my mark at this club, but there’s a long, long way to go be­fore you can bracket me with the top cen­tre-for­wards,” he said. “I look at Ighalo and Vardy. They’ve scored goals in the Cham­pi­onship like me and made their mark at the high­est level. I’m young, I’m English and I be­lieve I have the tools to be a top player.”

Howe has built a team with play­ers with a point to prove and this was an­other im­pres­sive dis­play in a high-pres­sure game.

Sun­der­land have far big­ger names on their pay­roll but they are strug­gling to avoid rel­e­ga­tion and were re­lieved to win a point here.

Man­ager Sam Al­lardyce is work­ing fran­ti­cally to sign more play­ers be­fore the trans­fer win­dow ends. “We have to try and find bet­ter play­ers, of the right qual­ity, who can help us es­cape,” he said.

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