Assistant Academy Manager David Oldfield says there were plenty of positives to take from Tuesday’s testing friendly with Premier League side Leicester City.
Jordan Spence, Ian McLoughlin, Tom Flanagan, Samir Carruthers, Mark Randall and Tom Hitchcock were the senior players who featured in the friendly, alongside three of the Dons’ newest professionals in Harry Hickford, Will Summerfield and Giorgio Rasulo.
“We felt we needed the game to get minutes into the legs of those players who have been on the fringes of the first team,” Oldfield told MK Dons Player. “It was originally arranged as more of an Under-21s game but Leicester felt that some of their senior pros needed a game.
“The result is a little bit disappointing and we need to make sure we are disappointed with the result because we could have done better in many ways. The bigger picture, though, is that we got minutes in legs and the younger boys did well. I felt it was a positive night for us.”
Second-year scholars Ben Tilney and Kabongo Tshimanga both started the game, while Gedeon Okito, Kyran Wiltshire and Laurence Vaughan were introduced during the second half and Oldfield believes the experience will only benefit the quintet.
He added: “I felt the young boys did lots of good things. I thought they all managed the ball well and showed some good energy and I thought some them did themselves some real favours.
“In terms of their learning and understanding of what it takes to compete at this higher level it was an invaluable experience. Being able to play against the likes of Esteban Cambiasso, a Champions League winner is a fantastic for the young boys.
Tuesday was the first time the Dons had made a ‘reserve’ match open to the public since Robinson took charge back in 2010 and Oldfield says it is something the club are looking to do more of this season.
“In the past, I don’t believe this club has had too many games of this level so we will be looking at putting on more like this. It provides the younger players with a chance to flourish as well as give first-team players who have not been playing a decent run-out.”