Jack Rudoni marked his debut at Corinthian Casuals on Saturday with a Man of the Match performance.
'Rudi', who signed a professional contract at AFC Wimbledon last week, was presented with a bottle of Champagne by a sporting hero - former England cricketer Alec Stewart.
Alec, who played for Casuals before his cricket career took off, also played at youth level for Wimbledon.
Our midfielder's impressive display helped Casuals to a creditable 0-0 draw against Bostik Premier League leaders Dorking Wanderers on Saturday.
Casuals manager James Bracken was full of praise for his performance after Saturday's game.
"Jack deserved man of the match," said James. "I only introduced him to the boys on Thursday, and in my opinion he will play, at the minimum, League One level in the future. I think he is that good. He doesn't make poor decisions, and for a 17-year-old to get through 90 minutes like that in a game against a team top of the league, and actually influence the game, was fantastic. It is nice for him as well as it means he will get the respect from the rest of the players. Sometimes when you bring a 17-year-old in from nowhere, some players may think 'why is he bringing in a kid at this stage?', but for him to go out there and do what he did, he now knows he has the confidence from the other players as well, not just myself.
“Wimbledon are happy with the move, and this is good from our part as we are happy to do right by the player to get him men's experience, it will be great for his development to get out and play 90 minutes. He will learn far more playing in these last seven or so games for us than he will playing youth football, so it is fantastic for him, great for Wimbledon, and hopefully it is a relationship we can nurture. If we do right by Rudi, and they can see he's in a good environment, hopefully this will open up some doors in the future.
“Other pro-clubs should be open-minded to this, we can't pay wages, but we can provide players with a platform to continue their development in what I feel is the right environment for a young player to develop.”
Well done Rudi and keep up the good work!
Pic: Corinthian Casuals.