Dons’ faith in youth is key to Sixfields win

George Baldock

George Baldock

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Karl Robinson was delighted with his young side after their 2-1 victory over Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

At 30, Jon Otsemobor was the oldest player in the starting line-up by almost four years as Robinson put his faith in youth.

But while the top clubs seek to make in-roads in tempting Dele Alli away from stadium:mk, the Dons boss was quick to point out the importance and talent his other young charges possess.

“Tom Flanagan is an under 21 international for Northern Ireland, Brendan Galloway was man of the match against Tottenham last week, Giorgio Rasulo and Hugo Logan played for England U17s and played very well.

“Patrick Bamford is only a young player too.

“And then you’ve got Dele Alli - a talent, and George Baldock - a quality player.

“I looked at them before the warm-up and they looked very young!”

Last year, Robinson’s young charges were given fleeting introductions to first team action, with some heading out on loan, while others were used sparingly in the early rounds of the FA Cup.

But his faith in them over the last 12 months now seems to have paid off as they prepare to make the next big step in their careers - securing a regular first team place.

“They all got a lot of experience last year,” said Robinson. “And that’s only going to stand them in good stead.

“I’m really pleased with the game tonight.”

He probably wasn’t too impressed with the rough-house treatment Alli was given by the Northampton defence though.

After being subject to a penalty appeal when he collided Matt Heath, the defender sought revenge minutes later as he scythed down the midfielder when he was through on goal - a decision which only resulted in a booking, and raised more than a few eyebrows.

Robinson said: “The referee said no (it wasn’t a sending off), but I thought he was in on goal. I thought it was a penalty though.

“It just goes to show what you have to do to a 17-year-old. The kid is unstoppable!”

And Robinson praised Cobblers’ on-loan keeper Matt Duke for his string of incredible saves.

He added: “I can’t believe he’s still at Bradford. But maybe our finishing could have been better!”