After a decade in the Academy system, Jay Bird made his MK Dons debut on Tuesday night as his goals helped Russell Martin’s side to a 3-2 win over Stevenage.
Bird was handed his professional debut by Martin as the Dons traveled to The Lamex Stadium for a crucial EFL Trophy clash.
The young striker looked bright throughout and found himself on the scoresheet twice – with both of his goals showcasing both sides of Bird’s game.
The first, an instinctive finish from close range, while the winner was a thunderous strike from the edge of the box
Following the fixture, Bird caught up with iFollow MK Dons and spoke of his pride after a dream debut for MK Dons
“It means everything to me, since I was a kid, it’s all I’ve known. It’s a very good club, I’ve always enjoyed my football playing for MK Dons and I want to keep going.
“I'm coming up to my 11th year at the club now, and to have that injury last season was a huge setback. I feel like I got my head down, worked hard and it's paying off now.
“I've finally been able to play 90 minutes, Russ offered me the chance and I took it with both hands.”
Martin named 10 Academy Players in his squad of 18 on Tuesday night, with Bird noting playing alongside fellow Academy Graduates can only help showcase the pathway to professional football to those currently in the youth system.
“I feel like it paves the way for any MK Dons player from the academy to see the pathway and see and that it's possible.
“When you see your teammates from the U18s, you can see it’s visible. Having those academy players in the first team makes you want to get out on the pitch and do a bit more, or do a bit more in training to showcase yourself.
“I spent a lot of time through the academy with David [Kasumu] and with Matty [Sorinola] so to score on my debut and to share it with them – it can't get any better.”
MK Dons will be looking to build on Tuesday's win when they take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park this Saturday.
Supporters can watch the match LIVE on iFollow MK Dons - click HERE to purchase a Video Match Pass!