Jon Goodman believes Milton Keynes is full of footballing talent, and hopes the Club can prove to the next generation that MK Dons is the best place for their development.
The Dons have developed a terrific track record of producing professional footballers, with many having contributed at first-team level at Stadium MK while some have gone on to play at the highest level, such as Dele Alli, George Baldock and Brendan Galloway.
However, there are some examples – Ben Chilwell and Jeffrey Schlupp to name just two – where footballers from Milton Keynes have going on to play Premier League football without coming through the Dons’ Academy. Goodman wants that to change.
“There is a frustration that there are lads from Milton Keynes who are playing professionally, some in the Premier League, but didn’t come through our Academy,” the Academy Manager told iFollow MK Dons recently.
“This area is tremendously fertile for producing talented footballers. We are keen to embrace that and keen to remind those talented individuals that there aren’t too many better places to be than at MK Dons.
“I know we’re living through unsettling times, but the Club is in a good place in terms of the infrastructure and the potential new training ground.
“We have a manager who is a great advocate of what we’re trying to do. I see real potential in what we can achieve.
Sam Nombe and David Kasumu are two of the latest examples of Academy talent to establish themselves in the first team, with the pair having combined for XX senior appearances this term.
Goodman believes they are the ideal role models for the next generation.
“They are a great reference point for our Academy boys and their parents,” he said in his wide-ranging interview with iFollow MK Dons.
“I remember working with Sam last season. He was out of the first team at the time and he came across to train with the Under-18s. He trained like a first-team player should – he trained professionally and he was really demanding of everyone. I’ve seen the same from all the boys who have been involved in Under-23s matches too.
“That competitiveness and desire to be successful runs through all those guys and it’s no surprise that they have all gone on to get professional contracts. We’re looking to reignite that character, as an Academy.”