Gary Waddock is looking for MK Dons’ young players to maintain their high standards after their positive start to the new season.
this past weekend.mkstadiumThe Dons are unbeaten so far in 2013/14, having won two out of their three opening games, most recently beating Crewe Alexandra at
The starting line-up for the match against the Railwaymen included six players under the age of 22 and it was two of them – Jason Banton and Patrick Bamford – who linked up to score the game’s only goal.
But although the performances of the young players have been pleasing, Waddock was keen for everyone to stay grounded and he insists there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Speaking in the week, the Dons’ Head of Coaching said: “Both me and Karl have worked with younger players throughout our coaching careers and the conversation I had with him in the summer was about his desire to bring in younger players with more energy. It was one of the reasons why I was attracted to this job.
“A lot of credit has to go to the coaches in the academy for all of their work but you’ve also got to give credit to the manager for being brave enough to put these players into the team. The period of time he’s been a manager here, he’s done that and he’s continuing to do that.
“Of course, they have to be good enough but a number of them here have shown, already, that they are. They have coped really well the last few weeks and you’ve got to give them credit for the way they’ve performed.
“But as much as it’s difficult getting into a first team squad, it’s even harder to stay there. They’ve got to keep working hard because they’re by no means the finished article, not by a long way. They’ve set standards now and they have to maintain it.
“It’s all very well doing it on the odd occasion but they’ve got to be consistent with it in order for them to push on and ultimately stay in the first team.”
While the youngsters will, no doubt, continue to receive plaudits for their standout showings this season, Waddock wanted to reserve a special mention for the more senior players, who have also made a big contribution to the side’s solid start.
“We’re talking a lot about the youngsters at the moment but we’ve also got to mention the more senior lads” Waddock added. “We’ve got some very good senior players in the group and it’s vital these young players learn from them.
“We’re very fortunate to have a group of senior players who are all very good professionals and hopefully our younger players can take stuff from them and use that going forward.”