BOSS Eddie Howe admitted Jack Simpson’s accomplished debut in the Carabao Cup had edged him closer to Premier League selection.

Defender Simpson capped an excellent showing by scoring and winning a penalty during Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough.

Asked by the Daily Echo how close the 20-year-old was to forcing his way into the reckoning for the Premier League, Howe said: “When you look at the injuries to Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith, we are stretched defensively.

“That was half in my thought when I decided to give him an opportunity to see how he did when exposed to the competition and the pressure.

“He responded really well and it was almost as if his game stepped up a level with better quality players around him.

“A lot will depend on what happens with the form of the players who are playing at the moment but Jack is certainly close.”

Howe added: “He has a really nice mentality and a very good attitude.

“He wasn’t fazed at all and you could see that in the build-up.

“He played against Napoli in pre-season and did really well so I had no hesitation in playing him.

“He was very composed on the ball and defended well. He was around some experienced players and they helped him but it is a great story.

“He scored and won a penalty so it was a great night for him and his family and one they will always remember.”