It’s been a few months since Chris Mepham left Brentford to join AFC Bournemouth but his stock has only continued to rise.

The defender, who became a key figure after rising through the ranks, completed a move to the Cherries in January, reportedly for £12 million.

A dozen appearances later he has paid back the faith Eddie Howe showed in him and impressed his fellow teammates, having been named Bournemouth’s player of the month for March.

And with also having caught the attention of Wales boss Ryan Giggs he could make next year’s Euro 2020 squad, should they qualify.

It’s a world away from when Mepham was released by Chelsea at 14 before being rejected by Watford and his boyhood club Queens Park Rangers.

But at 21 he could feature in Bournemouth’s final game of the season away to Crystal Palace, on May 12, and it shows how quickly things can change in football.

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“When you join a new team you never know how long it’s going to take you to settle in,” he told Richmond & Twickenham Times in an exclusive interview.

“Before I joined I hadn’t played at Brentford for a couple months, I came back from injury and found myself out of the team so I knew it’d be quite a big ask going in, with the new training regime and the step up to the Premier League.

“But [once I got] my opportunity I’d like to think I took it.

“I’ve definitely had a few learning experiences so far. I’ve had some difficult games but, all in all, it’s been really positive and I’ve been pleased with my performances.”

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Chris Mepham at Brentford. Photo: Richard Sellers / PA

Mepham, whose first appearance for Bournemouth came in their 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea on January 30, remembers the early days at his new club well.

Away at Cardiff City the defender had his initiation to do in front of his new teammates, hoping to avenge the previous “nightmare” at Brentford.

According to the Bournemouth Daily Echo Mepham chose George Ezra’s hit “Budapest” that time but, unfortunately for him, it “didn’t go down well”.

Instead, he swapped it for Drake’s “Hold on We’re Going Home” and it seems the time he spent practicing behind the scenes ultimately paid off.

Despite the awkward and uncomfortable rendition he’s also grateful for several of his colleagues helping him to settle in, praising one person’s gestures in particular.

“I can name a few names but I think, in particular, I’d say Nathan Aké,” Mepham said, when asked whether anyone has stood out to him since joining Bournemouth. “[He’s] definitely someone who has helped me a lot.

“I remember getting a text off him saying, ‘I’m having Champions League football round mine, would you fancy coming?’

“I think I’d only spoken to Nathan the day before previous to that, when I first met the boys. As a new lad coming in and you get a text off someone like that, welcoming you into the team and inviting the new guy to watch football, is really nice.

“It just puts you at ease, and it means when you go into the next day you feel more part of the group.”

The defender’s transfer to the Cherries appeared to be a long time coming though, with Howe showing a keen and persistent interest in him.

It took a couple transfer windows previous to the one just gone for Bournemouth to finally get their man, as Brentford fought to keep hold of their star players ahead of a huge playoff run.

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Chris Mepham at AFC Bournemouth. Photo: Adam Davy / PA

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“There were bids that came in from Bournemouth that got rejected,” Mepham said.

“The first time, I think they came in the last day of the window, or second last day of the window, and it definitely was too rushed that time.

“I think at that point I’d only just broke through into Brentford’s first team. I knew it was important for me to get games under my belt before I then further my career elsewhere.

“I think this window, in January, I felt ready to move on. The club [Brentford] were in more of a position where they were willing to sell this time round.”

Mepham believes it was hopes of a playoff push slowly fading away which made the Bees come around to letting their highly-rated prospect leave.

With an awful run of form to begin Thomas Frank’s tenure, and Dean Smith’s departure to Aston Villa, their initial resistance was eventually worn down.

“Because I missed out the last two windows I was eager not to let myself miss out on the opportunity this time round,” Mepham added.

“Football can change quite quickly so you never know when the opportunity might come around again.

“In my head it was only really Bournemouth that I was going to join.”

Aside from forming part of Howe’s plans for next year there’s the prospect of Mepham featuring in his first senior international tournament, Euro 2020, next summer.

Similar to Brentford he impressed at youth level for Wales before senior team boss Giggs took the time to speak with him, something Mepham has described as “surreal”.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Chris Mepham for Wales. Photo: David Davies / PA

Wales are currently second in their qualifying group after just one game, and will take on Croatia and Hungary next month.

Mepham, who already has five caps to his name, wants to add to his tally by playing in those games and be in the Euros squad should the Dragons qualify.

“It’s really pleasing to be in the setup,” he said. “It doesn’t feel that long ago that I’d first come up at under-21s for Wales.

“A lot has happened in a short period of time but I’ve definitely really enjoyed being part of the squad, and a very exciting squad at the minute.

“There’s definitely a good blend of youth and experience in that team. We’ve had a good start to the campaign with a win against Slovakia and, hopefully, we can kick on and get some results in the next two European qualifying games.”