Flanagan makes the jump look easy

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WITH suspensions and injuries crippling Dons’ defence, Tom Flanagan looked more than capable of handling himself in his home League One debut.

The 19-year-old centre-back was recalled from his loan spell at Conference side Kettering Town just 24-hours before being named in Karl Robinson’s starting 11 to face Leyton Orient on Tuesday, but didn’t let playing on the bigger stage phase him.

“It was really good to make my home debut,” he said. “I’ve had a good run of form when I was out on loan, and I got given the opportunity and I was chuffed to take it.

“I thought I played quite well against two good centre-forwards.

“Obviously I’m disappointed not to win, but I have just got to keep doing what I am doing and hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.”

And his manager heaped praise on the youngster following his impressive display.

“I’m made up with him,” said Robinson. “I made the decision to bring him back and play him and I felt he had an exceptional game.

“He’s a good passer, very elegant on the ball, and decent in the air, he just needs to fill out a bit into that big tall body of his, and when he does, he’ll be a very good footballer.”

Flanagan made the jump two divisions look easy on Tuesday, but noticed a huge difference in the way the game was played in League One compared to in the Conference.

He said: “The standard here is a lot higher than in the Conference. The ball was in front of my a lot more, rather than balls in behind me.

“Both sides were good footballing sides, and I’m sure there will be a lot tougher games than that in this league.

“I had to concentrate a lot more, and there was a lot higher intellegence level needed to play at this level.”

Flanagan will hope to be included in the squad for this Saturday’s clash with Hartlepool United.