WHEN he was sent on loan to League One AFC Wimbledon just a matter of months ago, making a Premier League debut could not have been further from Aaron Ramsdale’s mind.

But fast forward to Saturday afternoon, and the 21-year-old was the talk of the terraces when his name was read out from the Cherries team-sheet for their Premier League opener against Sheffield United.

It has been a rapid rise for the young goalkeeper, who admitted he had been planning for a loan spell in the Championship this campaign after earning rave reviews for his key role in the Dons avoiding relegation in May.

It was the second season in succession Ramsdale had been sent on loan since joining Cherries for around £800,000 in 2017, also spending time at Chesterfield in League Two.

Yet now he finds himself between the sticks for Cherries after fighting off fierce competition from Asmir Begovic, Artur Boruc and Mark Travers during a four-way summer battle, conceding no goals in his three pre-season outings.

And Ramsdale did not look out of place during the 1-1 draw with the Blades.

Discussing his whirlwind journey over the past few months, Ramsdale told the Daily Echo: “Anything could’ve happened last year.

“It’s a strange situation what’s happened and anything could’ve happened during pre-season – we could’ve signed someone or we could’ve not.

“Last year I was just focused on Wimbledon and maybe in my head I was just thinking about maybe going on loan to the Championship this year.

“But it looks like I’ve jumped that level and hopefully I can stay in this team and in this league, especially for this season and years to come.”

Whilst Ramsdale was featuring at Wimbledon, Boruc, Travers and Begovic all played for the Cherries first team.

Eddie Howe used pre-season to give all four of his goalkeepers the chance to impress, expressing to them that the starting spot for the opening game was up for grabs.

And Ramsdale revealed how he did not discover he would be playing until the day before the clash with the Blades.

He said: “This team is very young, so I’ve seen people get their debuts and I knew it was there for the taking.

“I tried everything I could and thankfully I got the spot.

“I found out on Friday. We all got individual meetings, but we didn’t really know it was happening.

“I was last, but I didn’t know that they’d been told, so I just thought it was going to be unfortunate.

“But the manager said, ‘at least I’m going to get one positive meeting out the way’, and then obviously a big smile came on my face and it was just a weight lifted off my shoulders.

“It was great and it gave me enough time to relax and prepare.”

He added: “I’ve been told from the very start, even when I was at Sheffield United, don’t play the occasion, play the game.

“It’s a game of football on grass, with two goals and 22 players.

“I maybe doubted that at the start (on Saturday), but then as soon as I made the save (after 33 seconds) I just realised that it’s just a game of football and I train with these guys every day.

“I believe in myself and I believe in them.”

Having been informed on Friday, Ramsdale was able to arrange for his family to come and watch his big moment at Vitality Stadium.

He said: “My mum and dad and my uncle and one of my brothers were there.

“Unfortunately my other brother couldn’t make it, but it was nice to see them at the end and they were buzzing obviously.

“It will take a bit of time until I settle down and realise what I’ve achieved.”

And Ramsdale was also keen to praise the rest of his goalkeeping stable for their support, having just been told they would not be playing themselves.

He said: “There’s three other great goalkeepers and we fight every day and we test each other every day and thankfully I’ve come out on top.

“I can’t thank them enough for little messages, little reminders saying to just play the game – even for Travs at 20 years old, he’s played two Premier League games, to say just do the basics well and everything will come with it.

“I can’t thank those three enough.

“Now it’s mine to lose so I’ve got to keep in front of them.”