George Pilbeam signs for the Under-21s
Alan Reeves has made his first signing for Wimbledon Under-21s with the addition of former Brentford youth teamer George Pilbeam.
The 18-year-old right-back’s display for the first-team at Havant & Waterlooville convinced Wimbledon’s first-team management that he has the potential to step-up and Alan Reeves is determined to help him do that.
Alan said: “I’m very pleased to get a signing done. When I sat down with George the other day I asked him ‘how many trialists have I had in and how many have signed so far?’ The answer before George signed was none. I told him he should take positives from that. The manager likes what he has seen so far and he’s a nice kid too. I’m looking forward to working with George. He listens to you all the time and he’s a hard worker who gives his all every day. Moving forward I feel that I can progress him.
“The quicker I can get players like George making progress the better. Rather than Neal shuffling the team around and playing Jack Smith at right-back if Barry Fuller gets injured, I want to be saying that George is ready for the step-up.”
George, who was with Brentford from the age of 10, feels that signing a professional contract with the Dons will give him every chance of earning first-team football.
“I became a much better player during my eight years at Brentford and I learned from some quality coaches,” he said. “But this is a new chapter for me in my career now. I’m not quite ready for the first-team, but I was doing well at Under-18 level so getting a contract at Under-21 level is perfect for me. I feel that I can really push on and show my ability.
“The manager told me before the Havant game that it was a risk to put me in, but he wanted to give me an opportunity. It sounds like I’ve proven him right. I want to gain the manager’s trust and hopefully get on the pitch for the first-team.”
AFC Wimbledon Under-21s face a tough test at Reading tomorrow. Alan Reeves will again supplement his squad with trialists and Under-18s, but Will Nightingale is expected to boost his squad after shaking off a thigh injury.
Dons Player subscribers can watch a video interview with George Pilbeam on our premium channel.