Ben and George lead by example for Under-21s
Alan Reeves has praised the attitude of young pair Ben Harrison and George Oakley after their impressive displays for Wimbledon Under-21s last night.
The academy products have both risen through the ranks at Wimbledon to gain first-team experience, but Alan wanted them to knuckle down and lead by example for his development squad against seasoned campaigners from Ryman Premier Met Police.
And Alan was delighted with their response in the 2-2 draw last night.
“Ben (pictured above) played well and he was very vocal,” Alan said. “I told the boys afterwards that you could see that Ben had first-team experience. This time last year Ben would not have been talking on the pitch as much as he was tonight. He is organising and taking a senior role in my team, which is what I want from him. He needs to step-up a bit more this year.
“George led the line like a man-mountain, he worked his socks off. He was up against two centre-backs and two replaced those and he did not give any of them a moment’s peace. George set-up the second goal and he deserved a goal himself for his work-rate and energy.
“No one is going to come down to the Under-21s after being in the first-team squad and be happy about it, but sometimes a manager and coaching staff are looking for a reaction. A young lad can go one way or the other when that happens, but they gave us a positive reaction. George was a prime example of that. You can get lads who have been at higher clubs and they come in and don’t give their all, but George led by example.”
Alan added that he was pleased with his side’s overall display at Imber Court last night.
“I thought there were a lot of positives,” Alan said. “We started off very slowly, but for the last 25 minutes of the second half we passed it better and created a lot of chances. We went in at half-time with momentum. Once we started putting our foot on the ball again in the second half we caused them problems. Overall, a draw was a fair result.
“It can only benefit our players to be playing against men, rather than playing against 16 and 17 year olds every week. I told the boys beforehand that I was disappointed with the performance on Saturday (1-0 defeat at Tonbridge Angels). I said ‘do you want to get into the first-team?’ If they do want to do that then they will be playing against men every week. They had to pick themselves up after Saturday and they did that.”
Alan Reeves said after last night’s game that trialists Dan Webster and Charles Weston-Hayles will both be given another opportunity in the match at Merstham Town on Saturday. Defender Webster was previously with Brentford and Weston-Hayles is a pacy striker formerly of Stoke City. Both scored last night.
The match at Merstham Town on Saturday is a 3.00 pm kick-off with £5 entry for adults and it is free for Under-16s.
. Young DonsIf you missed a report from last night’s game it can be viewed by clicking on