Russell Martin had nothing but praise for the five Academy stars who made their senior debuts in the Papa John’s Trophy tie with Southampton B.
Jack Davies, Charlie Smith and Lewis Johnson were all handed their first MK Dons starts in Wednesday’s clash at Stadium MK while Josh Bailey and Malaki Black came off the bench to make their bows in the second half.
The game might have ended in defeat for the Dons but Martin was keen to make sure the topic of conversation afterwards, was about his impressive young prospects.
“I should be talking about how positive it was from our academy guys,” the manager said in his post-match press conference, following the 2-1 defeat to Southampton B.
“It was so pleasing to see all five of them on the pitch together and putting in the performances they did. They should be really proud and happy with how they contributed.
“They shouldn't feel comfortable with one appearance but should want more to come. These guys have done themselves no harm at all and it will lead to more opportunities if they keep up their application.”
Sticking on the Academy theme, Martin handed David Kasumu the captain’s armband for Wednesday’s tie – another milestone for the exciting young midfielder, who continues to go from strength to strength at Stadium MK.
“It's a sign of how far he's come as a person and a player and how much responsibility he takes on,” his manager said. “He deserved the armband tonight.
“David knows how much we value him, how highly we rate him and how much more we expect from him. He deserved the armband tonight. He's still early in his career and I have no doubt that he will go on to be a huge asset for this club, even bigger than he already is.”
Russell Martin's men are back in Sky Bet League One action this weekend, as they take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Due to the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, the tie will take place behind closed doors but fans will be able to watch the match courtesy of an iFollow MK Dons Video Match Pass.
With an iFollow MK Dons Video Match pass, you will be able to watch Martin's side in action on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device! Want to watch on your tablet or mobile device? Download the new EFL iFollow App and watch on the go, wherever you are!
To purchase a £10 Video Match Pass, click HERE and select Buy A Video Match Pass. Then simply log in to your iFollow MK Dons account and follow the instructions or register for an account, which can be done for free.