BOSS Eddie Howe insisted Aaron Ramsdale’s impressive pre-season form earned him his Premier League debut against Sheffield United.

The 21-year-old was given his first start for Cherries ahead of Artur Boruc, Mark Travers and Asmir Begovic for the 1-1 draw against his old club at Vitality Stadium.

Ramsdale looked to have been heading for a clean sheet on his debut, before Billy Sharp cancelled out Chris Mepham’s opener two minutes from time.

Howe said: “It was a tough decision because we’ve got four good goalkeepers - I have said that many times.

“I assessed all the training, all the games.

“Aaron didn’t concede a goal in the matches during pre-season, had played impressively and had come back from Wimbledon a better goalkeeper – more mature in everything that he did.

“I think he deserved to play.”

The contest also saw a first competitive start for midfielder Philip Billing following his £15million summer move from Huddersfield.

“Phil did well. I think athletically he is not at his physical peak yet,” said Howe.

“But he was strong, aerially good, did well on the ball for us. There is a lot more to come from him but it’s been a great start.”