Jack Madelin says that the experience of playing first-team football has prepared him well for Tuesday night’s big FA Youth Cup tie at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United.
Our Under-18s will bid to cause an upset at the home of a Premier League club and they will get good backing on the night with fans travelling up to South Yorkshire to support the boys. A supporters’ coach is bound for Sheffield tomorrow and Jack is very grateful to our fans for making the effort to cheer on the team.
“We’ve said all along that this competition is different," said Jack. "Our supporters are coming along to Bramall Lane to watch us, something that we appreciate massively. We want to show them that we really want to play for this club. We want to really excite them when they get there, so hopefully they will enjoy the game. On behalf of the whole squad, I just want to thank every single fan that is taking the time to travel up and support us. Hopefully, we can repay them with a win."
It's been a whirlwind season for Jack so far as he's made his first-team debut at the age of just 17 and signed his first professional deal.
“We’re a strong team and a strong squad so we are all looking forward to the game," added Jack. "I want to play as well as I can and help the team as much as possible. A few of the boys have been involved in the first-team. Huseyin (Biler) and Zach (Robinson) were both involved on Saturday and other lads have been getting experience of men’s football out on loan. As a squad, we feel we are ready for this game and ready for the challenge.”
Manager Rob Tuvey said that the players are well prepared for Tuesday night and there’s a real unity amongst the squad heading into this game.
“We’ve got a few Under-16s coming up with us and they trained today, so it was good to see them involved. I think from Under-15s up to Under-18s we are very tight-knit. We travel to away games together and I think that’s really key for us.
“What we want to try and build is that togetherness as a club. I think that’s key for the academy all the way through to the first-team. Nick Daws and Robbo have been watching the lads play and some of the boys were in yesterday, attending the Junior Dons Christmas party. I think it’s really important to bring the whole club together and these boys really understand what it means to play for Wimbledon. They are now role models for the players in the younger age groups as well.
“It’s been a long wait for this one and it’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. We’ve had the league programme and the league cup to keep us going. We’re on a really good run at the moment, so it’s just about building momentum going into this match. We were really happy with the Hanworth game, I thought that our attitude going into that match was absolutely superb. We’ve looked at things that we need to improve upon. Hopefully, we are all well prepared and the boys know the game plan.”
“We went up to Birmingham to watch them (Sheffield United) and we’ve watched a few games on video too. We know a lot about them, but I’m sure they know a lot about us as well. We focus on us a lot though and our preparations are very much centred on how we will hurt them, rather than trying to stop them.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell's full interview with Jack and Rob ahead of the FA Youth Cup tie.