Huge snooker success has been predicted for Jackson Page by arguably the greatest player of all-time despite his first-round exit from the Betway UK Championship.

Sixteen-year-old amateur Page, from Ebbw Vale, was a late replacement to face Ronnie O’Sullivan at the York Barbican – following Rhys Clark’s withdrawal through injury – and acquitted himself well in the biggest match of his young career before ultimately losing 6-3.

Five-time world champion O’Sullivan raced into a 2-0 lead with breaks of 80 and 117 but Page maintained his composure to level the match at 2-2 before the Englishman pulled away after the mid-session interval.

The teenager wasn’t overawed by the big stage and although a plethora of young Chinese stars are generally tipped as the future of snooker – including 17-year-old Yan Bingtao who reached the Northern Ireland Open final last week – O’Sullivan claims the Welshman is the best youngster these shores have to offer.

"I think he's a fantastic talent,” said O’Sullivan, who won his first UK Championship as a 17-year-old back in 1992. “That was the first time I'd ever seen him play and he's by far the best British junior I've seen.

"Some youngsters could have come out and frozen but he didn't. He's got a good temperament and a big future.

“He has things to work on but once he does he will be very dangerous.”

Page had called O’Sullivan his idol in the build-up to the clash and believes the experience will stand him in good stead as he looks to turn professional in the next couple of years.

“I played ok,” said Page, who made breaks of 63 and 65 in the contest. “It’s Ronnie though – he’s different class really.

“I suppose I’ll take 6-3. You want to win but you don’t want to get hammered either.

“It gives me a lot of confidence. A lot of people would have been expecting me to get battered 6-0 or 6-1 but I competed.

“You don’t realise how much you learn from these games. I imagine my shot choices will be a lot different next time.”

Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds