STEVE Cook said he had learned more about the club by speaking to Cherries’ loyal supporters over the phone and added: “It’s nice to give back.”

The talismanic centre-half has been one of a number of figures taking to the phones to contact fans who are classed as vulnerable, or have been appreciative of support during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Cherries this week revealed they had put in almost 3,000 calls at an average of around 600 per week to keep in touch with supporters.

The likes of Eddie Howe, Lewis Cook, Chris Mepham, Charlie Daniels, Aaron Ramsdale and Steve Fletcher, as well as the club’s ticket office staff have also dialled in to keep in contact during lockdown.

Asked what it felt like to make the phone calls, former Brighton man Cook, who has also been part of BT Sport’s Team Talk initiative to speak to fans, told the Daily Echo: “It’s really nice actually – learning about the club more.

“You learn how long a single individual can support a club for and it was really nice to speak to people.

“One guy actually didn’t actually believe it was me. It took a bit of persuading that it was! It’s nice to give back.

“I think as a club and a group of players, we have always tried to involve the fans.

“We try to do our best to come up with ideas to try and connect with the local community as well.”

Cook has had to continue his rehab on a hamstring injury from home since the Premier League was shut down on March 13.

But he has been prominent on social media, with Q&A sessions and giveaways also keeping him connected with others.

And the Hastings-born star admits that has also helped keep his mind fresh.

“I’ll be a bit bored and sometimes don’t know what to do with myself, so I thought if I can give a little bit back it will help and pass an hour or so out of the day,” he added.

“In times like this, it’s keeping your mind ticking over and also trying to connect with other people because everyone is in the same situation.”