Sam Surridge admitted his non-league loan moves had put him on track for the Premier League, the Bournemouth Echo report.
The Cherries striker developed his craft at Weymouth and Poole Town before enjoying extended spells at Football League sides Yeovil Town and Oldham Athletic.
Surridge fired 12 goals in 20 appearances for the Latics and last month was recalled to Vitality Stadium.
Asked about the value of his time in non-league football, Surridge told the Daily Echo: “I learned a lot at Poole. I went there in Conference South and wanted to play men’s football. I wanted to prove myself.
“I knew if I started proving myself at that level, I would gradually keep moving up.
“At the time, it did not feel as if I would get (to the first-team squad) but you have to trust the process and keep working hard.”
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