Read the full interview with Carlton Morris which featured in last weekend’s edition of Red Dot.
Carlton, let’s start with your debut at Coventry City and the goal that came with it! You must have been delighted to start your time here by finding the net and earning the side a point?
“It was a great way start to my time here – the only way it could have been better is if we would have won! I’m really enjoying my time here at the moment. I think the style of football is suited to me - I like getting to ball to feet and moving it quickly. This team create a lot of opportunities as well so it’s good for a striker like me.”
You played against MK Dons earlier in the season while on loan at Rotherham United – what were your impressions of the side?
“They passed us off the pitch during the first-half! I was really impressed with the way the lads moved the ball and moved out of possession too. There’s a lot of quality in this team and that game was the best performance I’ve played against this season – it was my toughest test as a Rotherham player.”
What was it about MK Dons that made you want to join the Club?
“I know Russell [Martin] very well. I’ve had a relationship with him since the early days of my career. Luke Williams was also a big factor. The brand of football is attractive to me and it’s something that I want to be involved in. Obviously, the club is a really attractive place anyway, because we’ve got a fantastic stadium, with impressive facilities and a new training ground on the horizon. It’s a great area to be in and the fans are impressive. I think MK Dons is a really good place to be at the moment.”
Let’s talk about Russell – what are your memories of playing alongside him at Norwich City?
“It’s obviously scary coming through the Academy of a big club such as Norwich, but he made it so easy for me to integrate into the first-team and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for. We got on really well and clicked straight away. Russ is that type of person - he’s really easy to get along with. He’s made a really good transition into management and that was always something I could see him doing. He’s always had them leadership skills that are vital if you want to be a good manager so it was no surprise to me that he went down this path. He’s picked up some good results and that’s good to see. I think he’ll be really successful because he has that mindset that you need to be able to kick on.”
What did you and Russ talk about when he asked you to come and play for him at MK Dons?
“He knows me as a player already. That’s the best interview you can have because he doesn’t have to look at a resume as he’s trained and played with me in the past.
He knows what type of player I am and he knows I’ll suit the style of football that he wants to play. He touched on the style of football he’s playing. It wasn’t really a hard decision for me – I was so excited to come here.”
When you signed, Russ spoke about your character and noted how you were the perfect person to come here and help the team in big games – do you think your personality suits the ‘big game’?
“I would hope so as I love big games. I love playing games where something is on the line – that’s when you separate the boys from the men. It’s something I’m looking forward to being involved in with the boys. We’ve got a good squad full of characters and they are all up for the fight too. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
It wasn’t just Russ you knew here as you also played with Conor McGrandles at Norwich. What are your memories of him?
“He’s a great player and was always impressed by him in games at Norwich. I actually lived with Conor. He was alright to live with, to be fair. We’d go and do activities together and we’ve got some great memories. We became really close friends.”
Let’s go back to the start of your career. When did you first realise football was an avenue for you?
“My Dad got me into football when I was younger and, to be fair, I didn’t love it early on. He made me stick with it and it turned out, I was alright! My first team was Histon Hornets – a local team. I was a midfielder growing up, but I eventually gravitated towards scoring goals! When I was 10, I was signed by Norwich and it went from there.”
What was it like as a young player being signed by Norwich?
“It was exciting but also daunting as it was quite far away for me in Cambridge. My Mum and Dad had to take me there three or four times a week and I owe so much to them for that. It was tough but it was worth it. All of my best memories come from my early years at Norwich, so I’m very thankful to them.”
During your time in the Norwich City Academy, you helped the Canaries win the FA Youth Cup. What was that experience like?
“I had some great times, none more so than when we won the FA Youth Cup. That created a bond for us as an age group and I still speak to a lot of the boys now. We were massive underdogs against Chelsea, so that made it more special. I look back at it now, at the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ola Aina, Nathan Ake, who all played, and where they are now. It was a massive achievement and a big learning curve for me.”
You played alongside Josh Murphy in that FA Youth Cup winning team. Did you speak to him prior to joining MK Dons?
“Yes. He is one of the players that I still speak to, as well as his brother Jacob. Josh had nothing but good things to say about this place and the environment behind-the-scenes. He loved his time here so he gave me a few words before I arrived.”
James Maddison is another player you are close with from your time at Norwich City. You must be proud of him and what he’s gone on to achieve?
“I’m buzzing for him. He’s a great kid and I can’t speak highly enough of him. That sort of meteoric rise can change people, but he’s still the exact same guy he was when I first met him at Norwich all them years ago. He’s a very close friend of mine and I’m proud to see what he’s gone on to achieve in his career. The sky is the limit for him.”
While you’re focusing on helping MK Dons climb the table here at Stadium MK, will you still have one eye on Norwich and their bid to stay in the Premier League?
“Of course. I’ve watched them at every opportunity I’ve had this season and every time I’ve watched them they have played positive free- owing football and have been a joy to watch. They’ve been very unlucky at times - you look at some of the VAR decisions that have gone against them, it’s been really unfortunate. They are playing the right way and if they keep doing what they are doing – I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
What do you do in your spare time, away from football?
“Just chill out, really. I watch a lot of Net ix. I’ve just finished watching The Messiah – I binged that in about three days! I’m also a big NBA fan so I’m often catching up on all the games. I can’t watch them live, obviously, as they are on every night and quite late so I spend a lot of down time watching that. I’m a Dallas Mavericks fan - Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are my guys.”
Today will be your first game as an MK Dons player here at Stadium MK – you must be looking forward to that?
“I can’t wait. It’s a fantastic stadium and if the support is anything like it was at Coventry away then it’ll be an experience that I’m definitely excited for!”