MARK Molesley heaped praise on Cherries’ rising star goalkeeper Mark Travers and said: “You could tell from day one what an ability he had.”

Former Cherries midfielder and coach Molesley, now the new manager at Southend United, gave talented goalkeeper Travers his debut in senior men’s football during his time in charge at non-league Weymouth.

Travers announced himself to the Terras faithful back in August 2017, remarkably scoring the winner in a 3-2 Southern League South win over Bishop’s Stortford.

He went on to have a fruitful six-month loan spell in non-league – with his next senior appearance coming against Tottenham in the Premier League in May 2019.

Now with three top-flight appearances under his belt, Travers was this week once again called into the Ireland senior squad under new manager Stephen Kenny.

Speaking about his time working with the Maynooth-born stopper, Molesley told the Daily Echo: “Mark Travers, you could tell from day one what an ability he had.

“I don't think I had ever been that close to a goalkeeper with that talent before and that potential. It's such exciting times seeing players like that.

“When he came into Weymouth I was absolutely delighted again because he was so young at the time but absolutely no doubt about throwing him in. He was fantastic for us.”

With Aaron Ramsdale and Artur Boruc having left the goalkeeping department at Cherries this summer, Travers is in the hunt to be manager Jason Tindall’s first choice keeper for the 2020-21 Championship campaign.

Bosnian international Asmir Begovic is due back in training with the Dorset club this week, while Will Dennis, who has also spent time on loan at Weymouth, is in contention to compete for the number one jersey.

Molesley believes Travers’s time spent cutting his teeth in non-league would have helped his progression.

“What an experience it was for him,” he added.

“In non-league that ball will be pumped into your box nine times out of 10.

“It's a direct game and he had to come and claim against big, strong men. Not young kids anymore. So as a young 17-year-old, he had to go and be brave to claim that ball in his box and organise people.

“Sometimes a non-league crowd is worse than a big crowd because you hear every word they say.

“For a goalkeeper, I think non-league is a great experience because you get roughed up. Referees aren't as protective, difficult pitches, difficult circumstances and I think it's a fantastic experience for goalkeepers, as proved with Mark Travers.”