Dons Player interview with 17-year-old prospect
Ben Harrison’s rise through the Wimbledon youth ranks was rewarded with a call-up from Neal Ardley for Saturday’s game against Hartlepool – and he’s relishing training with the first-team this week.
Left-back Harrison, who joined Wimbledon when he was just 10, reported for first-team training yesterday morning and he’s determined to build on the opportunity.
The 17-year-old talked to Rob Cornell about the experience while the Under-18s were being put through their paces at the Bounce fitness programme in Wimbledon.
“It’s such a great experience to be around the first-team squad,” Harrison told Dons Player. “They are a good bunch of lads and they’ve made me feel very welcome. The training is a step-up because it is at a higher intensity, but I believe it’s making me a better player and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“I played 90 minutes for the first-team at Aldershot in pre-season and it was good to play alongside experienced players such as Alan Bennett, Sammy Moore, Matt Tubbs and Bayo Akinfenwa. It showed the difference between the U-18s and the first-team.
“It was great to be involved on Saturday. On Thursday night I got the call from Mark Robinson (Under-18 manager) saying that I would be training with the first-team on Friday and that I could be in the squad. I trained on the Friday and felt I did okay and then Neal Ardley pulled me to one side and said I would be in the squad for Saturday. It all happened quickly, but it was brilliant.”
The whole experience has increased Harrison’s hunger for more first-team opportunities in the future.
“When Callum Kennedy went down injured on Saturday I thought there could be a chance for me, but it did not happen,” added Harrison. “If need be I will join up with the Under-18s again on Saturday, but I will keep an open mind in case I’m in the squad for Stevenage. I am just taking every training session day by day. I’ve been at Wimbledon since the age of 10. Mark Robinson made me feel very welcome from day one and it’s a great club to be at.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Ben Harrison on our premium channel.