By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe praised the performance of goalkeeper Mark Travers, but admitted he took a “risk” handing him his debut in the 1-0 win over Tottenham at Vitality Stadium.
The 19-year-old replaced Artur Boruc in Saturday’s starting line up with the experienced Pole dropped to the bench in place of the youngster.
And the gamble worked wonders as Travers stood firm amid a barrage of first half Tottenham domination, denying twice from Dele Alli and Lucas Moura respectively to keep the scores level heading into the interval.
And Howe was full of praise for the Irish teenager following the match.
“A great display from him and I think he’s someone we really do believe in,” Howe told the media in his post match press conference.
“He’s got as you saw today, great temperament, great attitude to the game.
“He played today like it was a training session and that’s a huge compliment.
“(He’s got) real confidence with his feet, he kicked the ball well.
“He obviously made the saves that he made but it was his all-round game management that was hugely impressive.
“It’s slightly unusual that he’s not been out on loan and experienced a League 1, League 2 or a League Cup game.
“And that was the risk that we took. Because of the club that we are – we have to give young players opportunities and we have to try and develop players this way, the only way we’re going to do that is play them, so that’s why we decided to do what we did.”
The Cherries have mainly switched between the experienced duo of Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc this season but have the fourth-joint, worst defensive record in the league conceding 65 goals.
And following Travers’ inspired display and with Aaron Ramsdale likely at his disposal next season following a successful loan spell at Wimbledon, Howe admitted he has a decision to make on his goalkeeping situation.
Howe continued: “It’s a nice problem to have.
“It’s a nice decision that I’m going to have to make in the summer in terms of what do I do with all the goalkeepers that we have.
“I mean you’ve got Mark (Travers) who hasn’t been out on loan this season.
“You’ve got Aaron Ramsdale who we really rate really highly as well has been out on loan and done really well so great to have two such promising young goalkeepers within our ranks and of course we’ve got the two experienced goalkeepers who are top level as well so hopefully real strength there and I’ve got some difficult calls to make.”
Spurs lost their composure and were reduced to nine men following referee Craig Pawson’s decision to send both Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth off either side of the interval.
The Cherries capitalised on this with Nathan Ake rising highest to head home Ryan Fraser’s corner home in second half stoppage time, to hand the Cherries a first Premier League victory over the North London side in eight attempts.
Next up for Bournemouth is a trip to Crystal Palace, whilst Tottenham host Everton on the final day of the season next week.