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The big picture for Mark

10 February 2016

Reaction after FA Youth Cup run ends against Chelsea

Mark Robinson was extremely proud of last night’s performance by our Under-18s, but he was quick to look at the “bigger picture” and his ultimate aim of progressing players towards the first-team.

An eventful night saw the young Dons give Chelsea an FA Youth Cup scare, particularly after Alfie Egan’s memorable equaliser, before they eventually bowed out 4-1.

  with our Under-18s manager is now on our official You Tube channel and includes Mark describing the magical moment when Egan struck against Chelsea in front of 3,455 spectators.interviewThe full 

“I have to be honest, it was amazing,” said Mark. “When the goal went in it was a bit of a surreal moment – the noise was just frightening! It boomed across to me from the stands. I am sure come Thursday it’s a moment we will look back on with the lads and use it to take us onto the next level. I am proud of the boys, but I am gutted that it ended 4-1. I would not have been happy with 2-1. A score of 4-1 was not a fair reflection.

“Every one of our lads was probably up against an international youth player and a lot of it is down to adaptation. Within our own games programme we do very well and there are some good teams in our league. We showed against Newcastle and Watford that we were certainly not out of our depth.

“I don’t think we were out of our depth tonight (against Chelsea), but against the best everything is a lot quicker. They move the ball quicker with good movement. I know for a fact that if our boys played at that sort of level every week they would adapt because we’ve got talent in there. They moved the ball well and that made it hard work, but we certainly had our moments and I know we can kick-on from here.

“We have Portsmouth on Saturday in the league and we will freshen it up. We always do that as an academy throughout. We don’t stick with one side and we’re constantly rotating it so that we develop all the boys. We have players on pro contracts and we will get back to developing all the lads. We have to ensure it’s not a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ because the FA Youth Cup is over. We have to look at the bigger picture and try to get players through that Neal Ardley can trust in the future. Fingers-crossed we can get more lads on first-team contracts.”

Mark wished to thank Wimbledon fans for cheering on the boys with such enthusiasm and the first-team squad and management for all their support. Immediately after the game all our Under-18s and coaches were congratulated on stage at the man of the match presentation and Mark was grateful for the gesture.

“We don’t take defeat well, but it was so nice of Ivor to do that,” added Mark. “It gave me a lift with the fans in there. The first-team were great and they all came in and said ‘well done’ to the boys afterwards. I must also thank the first-team management too. There is such a togetherness and that’s what the club is all about. I just want us to get our thoughts together, kick-on, and make sure it’s a learning curve for us.”

Watch out later for an interview with goal hero Alfie Egan and goalkeeper Jack Wingate.


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