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Dons heroes inspire Bamba

23 May 2013

Young professional proud to play for Wimbledon

was born in France six years after the Crazy Gang’s memorable Wembley win, the 18-year-old forward knows all about that glorious match in 1988 and he says it is an honour to be a young professional at AFC Wimbledon.Youssouf BambaThough

of his delight at earning another chance at the club.Dons PlayerYoussouf, who is one of four players from last season’s Under-18s to be offered a professional contract with Wimbledon, told

“I am very happy because Wimbledon is a big club,” he said. “A lot of people have told me that it was a big club before and now they are starting to get back towards the level they were at previously. It is an honour to be at this club and hopefully I can push on and do well. A lot of people know about Wimbledon in France and I have heard about John Fashanu playing for the club when they won the FA Cup. I am going back to France this week for a holiday and when I return I want to get stronger and fitter so that I can push on next season.”

Seven months after he turned up at Neal Ardley’s very first training session as Wimbledon manager and requested a trial, Youssouf yesterday received guidance from Neal on what he needs to do to make the grade.

Youssouf (pictured above left with Academy Manager Mark Robinson) is fully aware that he has plenty to improve upon – and he believes that the club’s decision to have a development squad next season offers a big incentive.

“I have added more to my game with the help of Mark and playing for the youth team,” added Youssouf, who played youth football in France for OGC Nice. “I have come a long way by adding more goals to my game and learning a different style to play for Wimbledon. Everyone needs to improve and I need to get fitter and stronger so that I can progress into the first-team. The development squad is a very good idea because it bridges the gap between the first-team and the youth team. We need to all show what we can do in that and hopefully earn our opportunities. Mark has helped me a lot and I would not be at the club if it was not for him. He gave me an opportunity to train and play games here and I thank him a lot for that.”

, also told us a bit more about himself after being offered a professional contract.Chace Jacquart yesterday, a player from a completely different background, Dons PlayerDuring the same interview for

Chace, who was raised in Sutton, was picked up by Mark Robinson while playing youth football at Hampton and Richmond. Chace, who ended the 2012/13 campaign by scoring one of the goals of last season for the Under-18s against Milton Keynes, hopes to continue his progress in the development squad.

“I am very proud to be offered a professional contract at such a big club,” he said. “Neal Ardley gave me a chance last season to play for the first-team (Surrey County Cup against Horley Town) and I came on and nicked a goal. It is massive for the young players (to be in the development squad) because if we play well then we may be able to push on towards the first-team. I am more of a technical player who likes to get on the ball, but Mark has helped me improve a lot by working on my weaknesses.”

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Youssouf and Chace on our premium site. Tomorrow we will feature the thoughts of Tom Beere and Charlie Fayers on joining the professional ranks.

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