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Table-toppers Simon and Kai work towards a bigger picture

Focusing on the progress of our Under 18s

11 October 2023


Table-toppers Simon and Kai work towards a bigger picture

Focusing on the progress of our Under 18s

11 October 2023

Simon Clark is delighted with the table-topping form of his under-18s, but his focus steadfastly remains on developing potential first team players.

Kai Jennings is one of a number of Dons talents to show plenty of promise so far this season, but Simon said: "It’s not about league position, it’s about performance. We want to get players such as Kai on the ball in relevant areas doing the things that make a difference to football matches.

“The league position is wonderful and it’s great exposure for the football club, but it’s about how the individuals perform, how the unit perform, and how the team performs really.

“This kid can play - he deserves to be playing at Plough Lane, and this is where he’ll do his stuff.”

“Morgan Williams, as an 18 year old, is three months into his professional contract, and he was in the same position as Kai twelve months ago. At this wonderful football club there’s a great synergy between the pros and the Under-18s. We train next to them, we work next to them, and they’re always taking our players. That’s off the back of performances and that’s a wonderful thing too.”

Scholar Kai,a midfielder brought up locally, made the bench for our recent Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea’s multi-million pound stars.

“This club has a special story ,” said Kai. “I’m happy to be a part of it and witness the development, having been with the Academy from a young age. I remember going to Kingsmeadow for the home games, where I had a Season Ticket since the Under-10s - and I still have one to this day.”

PSI_IS_Chelsea_AFC_Wimbledon_30August2023_03742 Kai.JPG

“I went to the Play-off final at Wembley against Plymouth in 2016 and I remember standing with our striker Tom Wilson when we scored the two goals and it was inspiring. Hopefully, one day I’ll be playing there with Wimbledon - I just want to keep pushing on.

“Being involved with the first-team squad for the game at Chelsea was crazy! My whole family are Chelsea fans and I grew up as one. Looking across to their substitutes and seeing people I idolise was an amazing experience, but I was happy to be there and involved for Wimbledon.”

“Kai had a tough year last season with injury,” said Simon. “But he kept coming in and he kept positive. He loves the game, he loves to get on the ball. He wants to play forward and create.”


“That’s all underpinned by how hard he works and how he listens to the coaching points - the little differences and the little changes. When you put that together - with the huge amount of talent he’s got - he fully deserved his first moment with the first-team, and there will be many more moments.

“Some might say that he was fortunate to be at Stamford Bridge, but that was a wonderful opportunity to be inspired by it. At the end of the day, they’re great footballers and great physical beings as well, but they’re still normal people.

“When you look at aspirations it’s great for these young kids like Kai to get close to them. They get to see that top players make mistakes and give the ball away, but they also see the quick, technical actions that they do on the pitch. You can’t buy experiences like that.

“You don’t get that from watching on television - you get that when you’re next to it, training next to them, or playing with them. That’s really important and it was a fully deserved opportunity for Kai.”

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