A dream come true for Freeman as he finally makes his MK Dons bow

John FreemanJohn Freeman
John Freeman
"I was trying to keep relaxed before the game but I couldn't help myself but get nervous"

John Freeman's MK Dons career reached new heights on Saturday when he made his first-team debut against Coventry but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

It has been a torrid two years for the 19-year-old. Hotly tipped by academy bosses during his decade at the club, Freeman has been sidelined for two years with two long-term injuries back-to-back, stunting his progress through the ranks. After a year of rehabbing a ruptured medial knee ligament, Freeman returned only to break his leg, ruling him out for another season.

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Back fit again his debut, albeit playing out of position, on Saturday was a reward for his efforts and a dream come true even if his own parents didn't believe him when he called to tell them the good news.

He said: "I found out on Friday just before training – Russ and Luke pulled me to one side and told me I'd be starting. I called my parents straight away, I couldn't wait until I got home and they went '... really?!'

"I've been at the club for 10 years so it's a real dream to make my debut. I ruptured my MCL, came back and then broke my leg. I cannot thank the medical staff enough, they've been amazing. It was emotional being out there."

Freeman, a midfielder by trade, was picked to play on the right of a back three, with Dean Lewington and Callum Brittain - with nearly a thousand games of experience between them - either side of him.

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"I was trying to keep relaxed before the game but I couldn't help myself but get nervous," he continued. "Lewie was brilliant with me and made the game so much easier. He said in 10 minutes I'd be blowing, the pace of the game would be fast but after that I'd be fine and that's exactly what happened. I was blowing after 10 minutes but after that I was a lot calmer!

"I tried to take in as much advice as I could in the build-up, and it did make my life a lot easier. There were situations out there they have been through hundreds of times and you can tell."

Despite it being his debut though, Freeman was brutally honest about his own performance in the game.

"I did alright," he said. "I was quite safe, I tried to take on the tactics of the manager but at the end of the day we lost the game so I couldn't have played that well.

"It's a mix of emotions because it's disappointing to lose, especially to 10 men, but we played brilliant football throughout. I'm happy to have made my debut but I think we could have won today."

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