During his time at MK Dons, Dean Lewington has seen many an academy graduate progress through the ranks at Stadium MK.
The long-serving skipper spoke of his pride as he watched Sam Nombe and David Kasumu hold their own in the Sky Bet League One clash with AFC Wimbledon.
Also in attendance, that afternoon was fellow academy products, Dele Alli, George Baldock and Harry Hickford – along with former Don Dean Bowditch.
“Most of the boys who make it to the first team have been training with us since 16, 17. You follow them after that and see how they progress. It's great to see the boys make it, but for every Sam Nombe and David Kasumu, there are 10 boys who don't. It's always nice to see them come through.
Lewington noted that one of the first thing he does after a game is check on how his former team-mates fared that afternoon.
“I still sit on my phone for 15 minutes after the game looking at how the likes of Tom Flanagan, George Baldock, Adam Chicksen, Sam Baldock got on – you go through the scores because you're proud of what they're doing.
“It was great to have the lads back on Saturday – it was like old times. You have that connection with people, and you just fall back in with people like old mates. They were chatting to the boys they knew, and some of the newer lads came over for a chat.
“They gave Sam and David a pat on the back – they're the next two off the production line.
Especially for the boys in the youth team, it's great to see someone who has played here progress to the heights that he has.”
George Baldock has impressed since making the step-up to Premier League Football with Sheffield United, Lewington reflected on his journey in football and noted how impressive his rise has been.
“George is a really positive story with his journey – going to Iceland, and dropping down the leagues on loan before coming back. There's no one route to the top and now George is getting rave reviews at Sheffield United and doing really well.”
He concluded, “It's nice to know we've had an impact on them and they want to come back and watch - it says a lot about the club we are and their affection for it.