Egli and Callum earn a crack at first-team level
AFC Wimbledon academy products Egli Kaja and Callum Wilson were today rewarded for their rise through the ranks by signing professional contracts.
Egli and Callum, both aged 17, were part of an AFC Wimbledon youth squad that became national champions at Pride Park in 2010 and the duo have this season caught the eye for Alan Reeves’ development squad.
The picture above shows (left to right) Under-18s manager Mark Robinson, Callum, Neal Ardley, Egli and Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer.
Attacking midfielder Egli, who helped Wimbledon win the London Senior Cup last season, told Dons Player that he’s determined to keep progressing towards the first-team.
Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell, Egli said: “I am really happy to have signed a professional contract because I have been here for a long time, but I have to kick on next season. The manager wants me to nail down one position during pre-season and hopefully get on the bench for the first-team during the next campaign.”
Right-back Callum has been with AFC Wimbledon almost since the club’s rebirth in 2002 and he wished to thank Under-18s manager Mark Robinson for guiding him through the ranks.
“I have been here for over 11 years and I was overwhelmed when I was offered a pro deal,” said Callum. “It is a massive achievement for me. We were both part of a unique Wimbledon youth team that went four years unbeaten and won a national cup. That was a great team and a lot of that side are now professional players.”
Neal Ardley said: “It’s great that Egli and Callum have made such progress and they have come through. I have constantly said that in any industry when you are between the ages of 17 and 21 you are finding out about life in general and maturing.
“When you put that into a football context you are talking about players who have been playing against their own age groups and then they have to move up and play against men. They are then taking on players with more strength, know-how and experience. We have to invest time in them making that step-up and we are reaping the rewards of doing that now.”
An in-depth seven-minute interview with Egli Kaja and Callum Wilson is now on Dons Player.