New Bournemouth signing Benik Afobe has praised MK Dons manager Karl Robinson for helping to shape his career.
Afobe was unveiled as a Bournemouth player on Monday after moving from Wolves, but it was with the Dons – for whom he scored 19 goals in a six-month loan spell – that he showed what he was made of.
“I thank Karl Robinson a lot at MK Dons, it was a bit of a stop-start career with my injuries, I went on loan and some of them were pretty unsuccessful, but then I went to him at MK Dons and he gave me a lot of confidence,” Afobe said.
“He used to have one-to-one meetings with me after training, telling me what I was doing right and also what I was doing wrong and what I can improve.
“I remember one conversation with him and he said ‘in 18 months time you could be playing in the Premier League’ – here I am a bit less than that.
Afobe started his career at Arsenal and was expected to make the Arsenal first team before injury scuppered his chances and he ended up being sent out on loan to help him back to full fitness.
He has now landed in the Premier League and believes the injuries have improved him as a person and a player.
“Before (my injuries), I was always a young player who had a chance and life was pretty good and then, just when I thought I was about to break through, I had a career-threatening injury and it took me years to get back to my best.
“Now it means more being here than it would have done if I had played in the Premier League at 19”.
Manager Eddie Howe has described Afobe as “strong” and “a handful” and the new boy now wants to vindicate the faith.
“Since I was six I have always dreamed about playing in the Premier League and the manager here has given me the opportunity to repay him by doing well for the team and scoring as many goals as I can,” he said.
“I am very excited, he is working hard here and his philosophy is great.
“I have spoke to a few of the players here and they have said that since he came in they have all improved so I am going to keep listening to the manager both on and off the pitch because I know he is going to advise correctly.”