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Training camp creates the culture for young talent to flourish

Interview with Under-18s coach Rob Tuvey

17 July 2019

Our new under-18s coach Rob Tuvey is determined to push even more of our top talent Wally’s way and into first-team contention.

“To work with a special bunch of boys that we’ve got and to produce players for Wally and the first team is my role now,” said Rob. “That’s what I’m really excited to do.”

Promotion to first-team duties for Mark Robinson also resulted in a step-up from the under-16s for long-serving Rob, who we spoke to at last week’s “Camp KCL”. His new-look squad stayed on site at the training ground all week, enhancing their off the pitch life skills. Young striker Troy Chiabi gained a reputation for his culinary delights to earn the mantle of ‘Head Chef’ with his ‘amazing’ Spaghetti Bolognese going down a treat with his team-mates! You can see a video interview with Troy further down the page.

“The gaffer made a statement when he came in about young players running the culture of the training ground,” said Rob. “That’s something we've really tried to implement at Camp KCL in having these young players taking pride in wearing the badge and being around our training ground. It’s really important to us.

“I’m really grateful to our Academy Sports Science and Medicine Manager Jenna Richards for all of her help and input with the boys over the week.”

The young Dons will be heading back to Spain this year, after a successful tour working with the LFE (League Football Education) two years ago when they faced the youngsters of Atletico Madrid.

“We’re heading off to Seville shortly,” said Rob. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get some really good work in with the boys. It’s a chance for the boys to learn a different culture.

“We’re also trying to enhance our link with Southfields Academy this year and put the on and off pitch things together. We’ll have some educational things to do as well on the tour, so it won’t just be football. We’ll be playing Real Betis and a couple of other lower league sides out there and have twelve days of training. It’s a really good challenge ahead of us. 

“Our aim this season is for the boys to become role models in the Southfields environment. We want them to try and get the students to go and buy a season ticket for the new stadium and become Wimbledon fans, like myself! Hopefully they’ll see a few of this current crop walking out at Plough Lane.”

Having drawn 2-2 at Corinthian-Casuals last night, Rob is hoping Wimbledon fans can help play their part in helping develop our young talent this weekend.

“On Saturday, Mark Robinson and I will be taking a squad each, split of under 18s and 23s players, to Staines Town and Hanwell Town,” said Rob. “They will be really good tests as the boys will be playing men’s football. Hopefully the more fans we can get to those games, the better.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to play in front of crowds. There’s a little bit of pressure and it’ll be another experience that they can look back on and hopefully get to where they want – to be in the first team with Wally.”

Take a look at what went on behind the scenes at ‘Camp KCL’ with Troy’s tasty treats making him popular with his team-mates!

Rob Tuvey spoke more about taking on the role of under-18s coach and the season ahead in the interview below, which can also be seen via our official YouTube channel.

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