After first playing football together for the St Lawrence Junior School team in East Molesey, Jack Currie and Elliott Bolton signed their first professional contracts on the same day.
Both now 18 years of age, Jack and Elliott (left and right above with Academy Manager Michael Hamilton) have come right through the ranks with us. Left-back Jack, who is currently on loan at Leatherhead, joined us at the age of 10, and holding midfielder Elliott signed for us at the age of seven. Elliott's rise through the Dons youth levels to the professional ranks is particularly special as he was AFC Wimbledon's first mascot for the Chipstead home game in 2002.
"I am absolutely delighted - I have been working towards this for so long," said Elliott. "I am very grateful to all the coaches who have helped me through the academy, and now to Glyn Hodges and Nick Daws for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do. I am really enjoying my loan (at Merstham). I'm looking to push on and see where it takes me. There is still a long way to go for me, but I think I've got what I have deserved so far, and I am ready to kick on."
Jack Currie said: "Back in Primary School we were in the same team and we won competitions together. Now we have got to this stage together and it is like this guy has been through everything with me!
"Signing a pro contract is something that I have dreamed of since I was a kid. I have been here for a while so I love the club to bits and it's amazing to get this opportunity."
Glyn Hodges said: "Elliott and Jack have been great in pre-season and they have done well in their loans so far. We have had great reports about their progress and they deserve their opportunities because of the way they are acquitting themselves on a day to day basis. Hopefully, they take their chances and in years to come they will be in the first-team.
"Their team-mate Zach Robinson scored a goal in the EFL Trophy the other night, so they know there is that pathway. You never know what is around the corner in football, but if they keep working hard and improving they will get a fair crack of the whip."
Academy Manager Michael Hamilton added: "This is great news, but they have not achieved anything yet. It is the next step in them getting where they want to get to. The boys are fully aware of that because we do quite a big job at the academy of letting the boys know that getting the pro contract is a significant milestone, but it is just a step in reaching their goals. These are not emotional decisions and they are two very talented boys.
"The main thing we have to do is give them the time as individuals to get where they want to be. We have two very different cases here. Jack is a modern day left-back and Robbo has done a lot of work with him in recent months, just to get his mind right. He needs to focus and roll his sleeves up. Elliott is a resilient character, but his pathway may be a little bit different. That's the way it is with young players. There is no doubt in my mind if we are patient and give them what they need that in a couple of years they could be stepping out at Plough Lane. In Elliott's case, it's quite romantic because he was AFC Wimbledon's first mascot."
Mark Robinson, Lead Professional Phase Coach and Loans Manager, has worked with both players over many years and he believes they both have the talent to go further in their careers.
"Jack is an incredible athlete: he is very fit, gets up and down the flank for 90 minutes, and he has real quality on the ball. He also loves a tackle and is very competitive. Though he is not the tallest, he's very good in the air. He also has a long throw, so he has all the attributes needed for a left-back or a left wing-back.
"Elliott reads the game unbelievably well. He is probably the most intelligent player I have ever worked with. He reads the game so well and we are working a lot on his distribution, which he has really improved upon. Elliott was always going to be a project for us because physically he was a bit behind everyone else but we are confident that, given what he needs, he can go further because he reads the game so well. It was quite simple when we played youth games: when Elliott played we won, but when he didn't we lost. He effects the game in that way. He needs that little bit more time, but he has great attributes."
Watch Rob Cornell's full interview with Jack and Elliott by clicking on the link below.