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First team

Steve Cook - It's been a very good season for myself and for the club

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Steve Cook signed a new four-year deal with AFC Bournemouth this week and spoke about his reasons for wanting to stay at Vitality Stadium.

The defender joined the club from Brighton and Hove Albion in 2011 and has made over 200 appearances for for the Cherries, saying that committing his future to the club was an easy decision.

"It was always my plan to stay here as long as possible," he said. "Hopefully we can get as much success as in the last four or five years - these are really exciting times.

"We want to stay in the Premier League for the next four years, that would be incredible but we know it will be extremely tough and we know how hard this league is."

Cook has also made an impression on the stats tables this season, leading the league in clearances and headed clearances, while being one of only three outfield players to play every minute of every game in the Premier League.

"It's been a very good season for myself and for the club, the stats are good but I'd be worried if they weren't. I'm a defender and that's what I pride myself on," explained the centre-back.

"We've conceded a lot of goals, that's one thing that does need to be improved, hopefully I can be in the team to help with that.

"I'm only 26 and I feel like I've got plenty more years in me, I aim to be here longer than the four years I've signed for and become a big player for this club."

The dreaded second season syndrome didn't take effect for the Cherries in 2016/17 and Cook thinks that after a slow start the experience he's picked up has been invaluable to his development.

"It's been totally different," Cook said. "In the first half of last season I struggled a little bit to adapt but from the Chelsea game onwards I really changed as a person and as a player.

"I've learned from the experiences of the first season and as a club everyone's grown since our first season and we feel we're made for this league and can keep improving.

"Ninth is a great achievement but we want to finish even higher than that next season and in years to come."

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