Young midfielder steps-up at short notice
Seventeen-year-old midfielder Jason Stripp earned high praise from coach Alan Reeves after he took a late call-up in his stride against AFC Bournemouth yesterday.
Stripp (pictured) only heard that he was starting just 15 minutes before kick-off in the 3-1 Final Third Development League win for the Dons with David Fitzpatrick suffering a pre-match injury.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Alan Reeves said: “I thought that Jason did brilliantly. ‘Fitzy’ twisted his ankle in the warm-up so Jason did not know he was playing until 15 minutes before the game. He was thrown into the deep end a little bit because they had some decent lads in midfield. Bournemouth had sharp players in there, but ‘Strippy’ stood up to it well. He did not look out of place at all.
“I am very pleased (with two wins out of two), but it is more for the boys really as young lads like to win games all the time, which is understandable. If they all keep listening, learning and working hard the club should have a good future with these lads.”
Stripp was one of several academy players to earn game-time for the Under-21s yesterday. Neset Bellikli, Dan Ano and 16-year-old Jayden Antwi were others from Mark Robinson's squad to gain valuable experience at a higher level.
Alan Reeves was delighted with the work ethic of his whole squad yesterday with good teamwork nullifying talents from a Premier League club.
“The first-half was the best that our Under-21s had played for a long time,” added Alan. “I told the boys beforehand that Bournemouth would play out from the back and we wanted to counteract that. The lads absolutely worked their socks off by pressing them high up the pitch to deny them any space.
“Though Bournemouth had a 15-minute spell in the second-half we reacted well and Callum Wilson scored a great goal to seal it. I demand 100 per cent off the squad in every game and to be fair they give me that nine times out of 10.”
The full interview with Alan Reeves is now on Dons Player, along with the thoughts of Ryan Sweeney after his return to match action.