Jack Davies and Charlie were two of five Academy stars who went from playing in FA Youth Cup to representing the first-team in the space of seven days – a dream week for both young Dons.
After starring in the Under-18s’ 8-1 FA Youth Cup victory, Davies and Smith were handed their full debuts, alongside Lewis Johnson, in Wednesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy tie with Southampton B.
Josh Bailey and Malaki Smith, who were also involved in the win over Hertford Town, made their senior bows off the bench too.
Davies and Smith both spoke to iFollow MK Dons following the clash with Southampton and expressed their joy at realising a childhood dream.
“It’s always nice to make your debut,” Davies said first. “It was a childhood dream of mine as it is for other boys, so I was really excited that I got the opportunity to play, and for 90 minutes as well!”
Smith commented: “It’s always been a dream of mine to make play a professional game. It was nice to make my debut and hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future for me.”
Davies signed his first professional deal with MK Dons this summer and has been training with the first team for a while. He has had to wait for his opportunity to feature in a competitive game, however, but now he has the taste for it, hopes to make many more.
“I knew that just because I signed my pro, it wasn’t going to just be plain sailing from there,” the 17-year-old defender said. “I still have to work hard and prove that I’m ready to play.
“I’ve been itching to get on and get my chance. Russ gave me the opportunity tonight and it’s all about repaying him now.”
Smith is a year younger than Davies and is only a few months into his scholarship period with the Football Club. He was grateful to boss Russell Martin for trusting him with the responsibility of playing 90 minutes.
“It was important for Russ to have the trust in me to play 90 minutes,” the 16-year-old said. “It gave me confidence and it allowed me to play with freedom and express myself.
“Dean Lewington was also a huge help. He went through everything with me in training which reassured me and gave me the confidence going onto the pitch.”
Davies echoed the sentiments about Martin and what it means for the Football Club having a manager who is willing to give young players a chance.
“It shows there that this that opportunity here,” he said. “Last Wednesday, five of us were playing in the FA Youth Cup and then a week later we’re playing for the first team - not many other clubs would provide that opportunity!
“It shows the trust the manager and the backroom staff have in the Academy and the Academy players. It’s good to be a part of that.”