Irish teenager stars on Bournemouth debut

This article originally appeared on The Season Ticket.


What a day for Mark Travers.

The Irish teenager made his Bournemouth debut in the Cherries’ dramatic 1-0 win over Spurs at the Vitality Stadium.

Travers’ inclusion was a huge display of faith from manager Eddie Howe, with the 19-year-old becoming the youngest goalkeeper to make a Premier League start in 13 years.

The Maynooth man made five saves against Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors, and was named man of the match after the full time whistle.

Nathan Aké headed a stoppage time winner to seal all three points for Bournemouth, but it was Travers who kept the hosts in the game in the first half.

Travers twice denied both Dele Alli and Lucas Moura, and showed good awareness to come off his line to head clear from the onrushing Alli after Christian Eriksen’s lofted through ball.

One save from an Alli header – which he tipped over the bar in acrobatic fashion – was particularly eye-catching, and the youngster also used the ball well with his feet.

Early in the match, Travers was relieved to see Lucas Moura’s audacious lob from 40 yards fly wide of his post, with the young ‘keeper caught off his line.

However, he was a virtual spectator after the interval once Spurs were reduced to nine men.

Son Heung-min was sent off in the 43rd minute for a reckless shove on Jefferson Lerma, minutes after Eric Dier was fortunate to escape a second yellow for a challenge on Callum Wilson.

Pochettino introduced Victor Wanyama and Juan Foyth at half time – with Dier and Toby Alderweireld making way – but the latter was shown a straight red card just two minutes into the second half for a dangerous challenge on Jack Simpson.

Travers’ goal was rarely threatened after the defender’s dismissal, but the teenager looked assured in everything he did.

The Irishman – who previously represented Cherry Orchard and Shamrock Rovers – joined Bournemouth in 2016, and was named in the senior Republic of Ireland squad for the recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.

With Asmir Begovic expected to depart the club, and Artur Boruc coming towards the end of his career, Travers will likely have a bigger role in the squad moving forward.

It will be interesting to see if Eddie Howe restores Boruc to the starting lineup for Bournemouth’s final Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next week, or whether he gives Travers another chance to impress.

He is already on Mick McCarthy’s radar, and could potentially emerge as Darren Randolph’s long-term successor.

Written by david_smith

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