We are delighted to announce that 18-year-old midfielder Jack Rudoni has signed a new deal at AFC Wimbledon.
Since signing for us at the age of 11 after leaving Crystal Palace, Jack has long been viewed as a player who could be a big part of Wimbledon’s future and the faith shown in him this season by Glyn Hodges has been rewarded. Despite being loaned out to Tonbridge Angels earlier this season, the impressive progress made by ‘Rudi’ convinced our manager to make him a part of his first-team squad earlier than he had initially planned.
“Since we decided not to have the Under-23s in a competitive league, the plan was for all of the young lads to go out and gain experience in lower leagues," said Glyn. "It was always in the back of my mind to play Jack towards the end of the season, but he came back from his loan sooner and he’s developed well. He was fantastic in training so he deserved his chance. He’s a local boy who is hungry to do well. He is keen to keep on improving and he has a great attitude. I think the seniors are having him, they think he’s a good player. We have a talent, he has to keep working, but hopefully he flourishes with us.
“We’ve always done well at Wimbledon with the young players coming through. When players like Jack make the breakthrough, it helps the academy and the recruitment of other young players. We want to keep pushing Jack though and the good thing with him is that he’s a delight to work with. He’s always looking to improve, his attitude is great, and he has a real will to do well in his career. He has a desire to win for the team and to get better in his own career. There’s a great chance of progressing further when you have an attitude like he has.
“All of the coaching staff have helped Rudi and so have the senior players too. I always think that you know you have a good young player when the senior players trust him and make him a part of the group. They give him the ball and trust him in possession. He is a sponge in that he soaks up all the advice he is given. He will continue to learn. He still has a lot to do, but he’s on the right path and we are delighted that he has signed. Hopefully, he will have a great future with us."
Jack, who signed his first professional contract at Wimbledon in March 2019, made his full first-team debut in the 2-1 win at Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day. He has made 13 first-team appearances in total and he spoke of his delight shortly after signing his new contract. Take a look below at a video which includes Rudi’s thoughts on committing his future to Wimbledon, plus highlights from his time at the club so far.
Jack, who played for Epsom Eagles as a child and lives locally in Cheam, said: “Wimbledon has felt like home for all the time I’ve been here, since I joined at the age of 11. Everyone has been really good to me and it feels amazing to be playing for the first-team. It feels unbelievable to be playing out there. The manager has given me a chance to play in the first-team and has kept playing me, so I just want to repay that faith with good performances. Hopefully, I’ve done that so far and I can keep getting better to help out for the rest of this season, or next season.
“The manager helps me a lot. He comes and speaks to me, tells me what he wants from me, and I’ve just got to keep working hard to stay in the team. I have seen clips of the manager playing on You Tube. I'm a left-footed, technical player too. I feel that it will really help me to have Glyn as manager.”
Keep an eye out on the official website tomorrow for a more in-depth interview with Jack.