Player interviews ahead of FA Youth Cup tie
Reece Williams-Bowers believes his decision to turn down Fulham has been vindicated after progressing through the ranks and playing his part in Wimbledon’s superb FA Youth Cup run.
Williams-Bowers (pictured right above with Mark Robinson and Jayden Antwi) scored the winning penalty to defeat Watford at Vicarage Road and even though he didn’t come on at St James’ Park in the last round, the achievement meant so much to him.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player with Rob Cornell, Williams-Bowers recalled joining Wimbledon almost a decade ago as an eight-year-old and subsequently rejecting Fulham’s advances.
“I was at Ks first and then I was playing for a local team when I heard that Wimbledon were holding open trials,” he said. “Jeremy Sauer (Academy Manager) told me to come down after that and I was playing for the C team at Under-9s. I progressed from there and a few years later Fulham approached me. I had a long meeting with ‘Robbo’ and Jeremy after that. They told me the plan and I thought the Wimbledon plan was better.
“I was not too bothered about not getting on at Newcastle because it was all about the team and it was amazing. I am just overwhelmed at this stage. To play against Chelsea in front of a big crowd will be crazy and a night to remember.”
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The prospect of playing in front of the first-team squad offers even more inspiration on the night for Williams-Bowers.
“Seeing them there will inspire us to play better,” he added. “We want to show how good we are as a team so that they think they can trust us in the future and the first-team manager coming to watch us will be amazing.”
- and he is grateful to the club for giving him a chance after leaving Crystal Palace. Striker Jayden Antwi staked his claim for a return after injury next Tuesday by playing for the development squad earlier this week
“I was on trial at Palace when Jeremy was there and when I got released he asked me to come here,” said Jayden. “I had a two-day trial and then I signed for the club. Tuesday (against Swansea) was my first proper game I had since my injury. It was a bit of a rough game due to the conditions, but it was good to get my fitness up. It was great to get back into the flow of playing again.
“I didn't play against Newcastle, but I don't think any of the lads felt we were going to lose that game. There was a buzz about the squad and everyone was excited to play. The players knew they could win if they stuck to the plan.Everyone is fired up for Tuesday. We want to do well in front of a big crowd and show them why supporting AFC Wimbledon is so good.”