Under-21 prospect Zeno Ibsen Rossi described as “a great experience” partnering AFC Bournemouth captain Simon Francis.
The 18-year-old lined up alongside Francis in the Cherries’ resounding 8-0 win over Basingstoke in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Both Francis and Lloyd Kelly, two members of Eddie Howe’s first-team squad, featured for the first time having recently recovered from injury.
Ibsen Rossi told afcb.co.uk: “It was great. Simon Francis and Lloyd Kelly are both top players, playing at the top level so it’s a great influence on us and it helps give us the motivation to make it to the next level.
“They were both very vocal. Even though it was a younger team around them, they were still taking it very seriously and trying to push up and encourage us. I think it was a great experience for us and for them.
“They both play at the highest level and they’re still giving 100 per cent and fighting for every ball in a Hampshire Senior Cup game against Basingstoke.
“It just goes to show their commitment and sets an example for us younger boys the sort of attitude you need to get to that level.”
The Cherries were convincing winners thanks to Gavin Kilkenny’s phenomenal hat-trick, doubles from Jake Scrimshaw and Jaidon Anthony and Kelly’s breathtaking team goal.
Ibsen Rossi added: “We did well, we stuck to our game plan which was basically dominating the ball and making them tired.
“We knew we’d have more energy and fitness than them in the long run, we stuck to our plan and moved the ball well and created the gaps to play through.”
Ibsen Rossi was full of praise for Kilkenny whose hat-trick included a sublime 40-yard lob and two further strikes from outside the box.
He said: “Gav ran the show. He was probably our man of the match on the night and his lob was a stunning goal.
“Even the simple stuff he was doing such as moving the ball from side to side and dictating the tempo was unreal.”