Wally Downes expressed his satisfaction with last night’s final pre-season fixture against Crystal Palace and he praised the impact of Wimbledon’s young talents.
Speaking after the entertaining 2-2 draw against the Premier League visitors, Wally explained that his team selection intended to provide game-time for those that required it.
“It achieved everything we wanted it to,” said Wally. “Any player that missed sessions during the pre-season periodisation that we did could make the time up on this game. Any players that were short through injury were able to make the time up through this game. Out of everybody that was supposed to be finished on Saturday, there were a couple who this game came in handy for, so it achieved everything that we wanted from it.
“Players had completed the allotted time that we wanted them to do by Saturday. If everybody had done that, it would have been a different team against Palace. Some players completed their minutes on Saturday and others finished them in this game.”
Last night’s match was a resounding success for young talents aiming to make a first-team breakthrough with Paul Osew awarded the Man of the Match accolade. With Finlay Macnab netting our first equaliser and Jack Rudoni and Reuben Collins also impressing, Wally was certainly pleased to see evidence of progress from the club’s youngsters.
“Finlay was injured last season and he’s been very impressive during the pre-season," added Wally. "Paul is a lively fella and I was very pleased with him and Rudi. Also, Reuben when he came on because he had to deal with Connor Wickham, who is a handful for anyone. I was quick to try and get all those three (Paul, Jack, and Reuben) on pro deals last year. I don’t know what the feeling was before me, but I certainly felt that the quicker they started playing with senior players the better, so that they were treated like professionals and taken out of the academy system as early as they could be. The academy serves its purpose, but there is a time when they have to progress and I’ve watched them progress during the six weeks they’ve been with us.”
“There have been good performances. The teams I’ve played have been mixtures. Everybody has had a go and had the same amount of time on the pitch. Now, it’s just about me picking what I think is the best team for Saturday.”
Click on the link below to watch the full interview with Wally.