NEW Cherries recruit Aaron Ramsdale revealed how former Bolton star Jussi Jaaskelainen had picked him up at his lowest ebb – and inspired his journey to the top flight.

The 18-year-old goalkeeper, who stands at 6ft 3in tall, spent five seasons in the youth ranks at Bolton until he was released at the age of 15, in part because the club felt he was too small.

The Trotters favoured Will Jaaskelainen – Jussi's son – in Ramsdale's age group and having been deemed second-best, the latter subsequently moved to Sheffield United on scholar terms.

And it was now-Wigan stopper Jussi who encouraged Ramsdale to believe he could make it in the professional game following his Bolton exit.

Those words paid off when the teenager made his first-team debut for the Blades in a 6-0 FA Cup hammering of Leyton Orient in November. And following a further FA Cup outing in December – a 3-2 loss to Bolton – he joined Cherries on deadline day for a fee of around £800,000.

Ramsdale told the Daily Echo: "Being released was tough for me to take as I had been at Bolton from the age of 11 until 15. At the time I was 5ft 8in but I'm young in my age group and they chose Will instead, who is still there now.

"Me and Will have always been very close. I still keep in touch with him and his dad and there are no hard feelings over what happened at all. Because Bolton released me, I have gone on to bigger things.

"Jussi was definitely one of my idols growing up. I was in awe of him. He would tell me and Will stories about training sessions and playing against Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

"I was star-struck but he helped me a lot, especially when I got released by Bolton. He told me it wasn't over and to keep going, so he was brilliant."

Prior to signing for Cherries, Ramsdale had been the subject of a reported bid by Everton, while the Daily Echo understands Arsenal and Manchester City were also interested.

But despite his allegiance to the Blades, the youngster's mind was made up quickly after speaking to Cherries boss Eddie Howe.

"It was a tough decision because Sheffield United are pushing for promotion and are a great set of lads with a great manager," added Ramsdale, who was second choice at Bramall Lane.

"I have a lot of friends up there and was right in the mix of it – any injuries and I was in the team. But as soon as I spoke to the gaffer (Eddie Howe), he made my mind up.

"He told me about the amount of lads down here who are young and hungry for places. He said he wanted me to be involved with the first team and to stake a claim, so that's what I have to do for the next six months and then push on in pre-season."