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Mike makes case for young crop

5 June 2014

Director of youth Mike Dove has spoken of his belief in the next set of Dons apprentices.


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“They can’t go to their mates’ parties, they can’t be out late. It’s a big change but the boys who are coming through are good young professionals. Obviously they are going to make mistakes but we are here to help them.”

“There’s talent and working at that talent but there’s also the attitude, the commitment, the sacrifice. They’ll do their exams now, probably have a week off and then they are in full time so they won’t have a holiday until next June.

Dove concluded by discussing the development path of these youngsters. “People say these boys shouldn’t be in the system at seven and eight, but if you provide the right environment and coaches, we can follow them over the years and ingrain our philosophy and culture in them, so it’s not too big of a decision when it gets to this time because we’ve had a real good look at them.

“Our job is not just on the football side, we need to set the environment which takes them from schoolboy to full-time. With no development group at this Club, there is an opportunity to get into the first team very quickly.

“Now they are into a new phase with the biggest thing being coming from a schoolboy, where they are part-time, to playing full-time. It’ll be a change, both physically and mentally.

He added: “We monitor these boys for a long time and they go through the foundation and youth development phases, then we have to make a decision as to which ones will go through the pro development phase.

“It’s down to them to see how they progress over the next couple of years, but I’m confident we’ve got a good group of boys coming through.”

“They’re a good group,” he told MK Dons Player. “They’ve got a big task ahead of them with the quality of player that has come through this year, but they are all boys I can see having an opportunity at MK Dons.

They will all link up with next season’s second-year scholars Jacob Daffern, Gedeon Okito, Ben Tilney, Luke Tingey, Kabongo Tshimanga, Laurence Vaughan, Aaran Weston and Kyran Wiltshire to form Dove’s U18s side.

Callum Brittain, Connor Furlong, Jack Hadden, Adam Hunt, Andrew McCorkell, Kevin Owusu, Dominic Palmiero and Joe Steele have all been handed the chance to become first-year scholars for the 2014/15 campaign, as well as Danny Collinge, who featured on the bench for the first team last season.


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