Young defender commits future to the Dons
Seventeen-year-old defender Toby Sibbick’s impressive form in the past year has been rewarded with a professional contract at AFC Wimbledon.
Toby, who can play centre-back or right-back, was a key player during the club’s FA Youth Cup run to the last-16 in 2015/2016 and now he has become a regular for Alan Reeves’ development squad.
.Dons Player channel with an extended version on You TubeAn interview with Toby and Academy Manager Jeremy Sauer can be viewed on our official
Toby, who is pictured centre above with Alan Reeves (left) and Jeremy, has come a long way since he first started playing football for Feltham Youth.
“Right now I am buzzing,” said Toby. “I am over the moon because it’s everything you dream of as a child to get a pro contract. I know how far the club has come since it started again and I want to help Wimbledon get back to the Premier League.
“When I was young my Dad took me down to play for Feltham and I was there for quite a while. I ended up joining Conquest Football Academy and after playing against AFC Wimbledon I got scouted and managed to get a trial.
“Michael Hamilton helped me a lot when I first came on trial as he was telling me what I needed to do to get signed. James Oliver-Pearce also pulled me aside to help and I worked on my heading with Neil Cox and Alan Reeves. They helped me to become more aggressive. Mark Robinson is also a great coach, who helps all the Under-18s mentally and physically. He wants to get the best out of every young player in the squad.”
Jeremy Sauer said: “When we were discussing at the start whether Toby was right for a professional contract, the first question was ‘where do we see him in the future?’ His versatility probably works in his favour. At the moment Toby’s target in terms of his development focuses on him being more aggressive and being more of a leader as a centre-back. That’s something which may take a little longer and working with Alan Reeves he has got the right man for the job.
“Toby can also play at right-back because he is so comfortable on the ball. As he can also get up and down the pitch brilliantly, it means he is going to get minutes there. He is going to be focusing on a centre-back role in the long-term, but if an opportunity comes up at right-back in the first-team and he takes it you never know what could happen.
“Toby has done brilliantly in such a short space of time. He understands our identity and he has worked on that with a variety of coaches. One of the biggest tests for a young footballer is when they progress into a full-time football environment. They are in and around the first-team every day and they have to change from boys to men. Toby has coped with that really well.”