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Dons striker aims to fulfill his destiny

Interview with Great Nii-Okai Evans ahead of FA Youth Cup tie

1 November 2017

By Rob Cornell

Young Dons striker Great Nii-Okai Evans will treat Marlow with respect tonight, but he is determined to make the most of his first real opportunity in the FA Youth Cup.

Great is one of only a few survivors from last season's under-18s squad that exited the competition at Preston North End. They were left feeling it was a missed opportunity to progress to the last eight.

"We have to play the game and not the occasion," said Great "We can't take them lightly. They are non-league, but at the same time we want to push forward in this competition and go further than last year. We need to stay humble and stay grounded and just do everything right and if we do all the right things, then there's no reason why we shouldn't come out of it with a result.

"It is a motivating factor to go further this year. For myself and Osaze Urhoghide, we didn't really get much of a taste of the FA Youth Cup, so it gives us more of that drive this year as it is our final year at this level. Also, we saw the mistakes we made last year and why we didn't go through to the quarter-finals and so we've got everything to do to put it right this season."

Great Nii-Okai Evans also told us how he came by his name, as he takes up the story in the clip below, via our official club You Tube channel.

The young Dons will have to face Marlow at the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground without their influential skipper – left-back and reigning Academy Player of the season Tom Scott. While he's a big loss to the side, Great believes Wimbledon can call upon other key players.

"Tom is a massive player and character in the squad. He's always talking and when everything goes flat – he's the one to bring it up. He's the heartbeat of the team and even though he's been injured, he's been in and around the changing room. As long as he keeps being positive around us, we'll feed off his energy.

"Osaze Urhoghide is such a good footballer. He can play right back, left-back, anywhere across the defence and he can also play in midfield as well. It depends on what players we have available, but you can put him left wing or right wing and wherever you put him he's going to do a job for you.

"Ethan Nelson-Roberts breaks up play and his energy is ridiculous! He's all over the pitch. As well as being a good number ten, he's a play-maker, but he's the energy of the team and he's our N'Golo Kante.

"We've been working on ways to get out, because we have a lot of big lads like myself and Donte Lodge-Francis up front. Basically, if we can't play out and they decide to squeeze out, up high, we've got a way to work out and you just work off the second ball and gamble off my header or whoever else is playing up front," added Great on Wimbledon's tactics for the Cup game.

"We did a session with James Oliver-Pearce (assistant coach) on different movements, because we all know we can head the ball and are tall and we've got the height and the jump as well, but it's just about getting in the right area at the right time. We worked on sharp, different movements to shorten up our stride to be able to get a header and it paid off in the win against Barnet recently."

The full interview with Great Nii-Okai Evans is available below and is well worth a watch as he talks more about life as an Academy player with AFC Wimbledon.

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