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Trio turn pro

Three Academy graduates sign their first professional deals...

25 June 2019

Jay Bird, Charlie Pattison and Matthew Sorinola have signed their first professional contracts with MK Dons.

The trio were offered deals following the completion of their scholarship period and have now put pen to paper with the Dons, allowing them to continue their development at Stadium MK.

Bird, Pattison and Sorinola join Dylan Asonganyi in turning pro from the same age group, which takes the total number of MK Dons Academy graduates in the current first-team squad to eight.

Forward Bird, born in Milton Keynes, joined the Dons at the age of eight and enjoyed his first taste of first-team action during the 2017/18 campaign when he featured in the matchday squad for the Checkatrade Trophy tie with Stevenage at Stadium MK. Last term, he made 25 appearances for the Under-18s while he spent the final two months of the campaign on loan with Hitchin Town.

Pattison, a technical midfielder who grew up in Leighton Buzzard, also started his career with MK Dons at Under-9s level. Last season he played 24 games for the Under-18s while also impressing on loan with Welwyn Garden City. He made his first-team debut as a substitute in the Checkatrade Trophy tie with Peterborough United in October.

Sorinola joined MK Dons as a 16-year-old after progressing through the youth set-up with Fulham. Last season, he played 30 games for the Under-18s last season while also establishing himself as a regular starter for the Under-23s, playing a key role as they finished second in the Central League South.

First-team coach Danny Butterfield said: “The immediate thing for the young professionals is about getting up to speed as quickly as possible. It is a big jump for them, made even bigger because we’ve been promoted.

“They are at different stages. Dylan has trained with the first-team for the last nine months while the others became regulars for the Under-23s by the end of last season. That doesn’t mean that any of them are ahead of the other in terms of selectability.

“Tis is a manager who has always selected players irrelevant of age. Maybe not straight away, but we’re hopeful that one or two of them can show enough progression and development in their game to become selectable and be able contribute this season.

Academy Manager Jon Goodman added: “It is great to see four players sign their professional deals from this age group. In the Academy, it’s always providing the first-team management with selectable players so it’s a proud moment for us all.

“For Dylan, Jay, Patto and Matthew, now they’ve got to look to seize their opportunity, particularly at this key pre-season stage. They’re going to need to work incredibly hard, building their identity within the first-team squad across all aspects of their performance, as well as demonstrating the character the first-team management are looking for.”

Edu Rubio quotes: “Charlie became captain of the Under-18s in the second year of his scholarship and established himself as an important player in the team. He earned the trust of Tis with his performances and attitude last season, enough to warrant an appearance for the first team.

“Matty has been a revelation with the Under-18s. He’s always been a reliable down the flank and can play on both sides which makes him a versatile option for the first team. I think that adaptability will help him as he makes the step up.

“Jay is a talented young striker. He has goals in him but he’s also strong with his link-up play and he’s a player how to use his physical attributes. I’m confident he can make an impact this pre-season.”

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