David Kasumu is all smiles at MK Dons at the moment, with the team playing well and unbeaten in nine games. And the 21-year-old marked his return to fitness on Tuesday with a substitute appearance against Fleetwood Town
Some conspiracy theorists in the MK Dons fanbase predicted David Kasumu’s injury, which ruled him out for 10 games, was all a rouse to mask a move away from the football club in the transfer window.
While there were reports linking Huddersfield Town with a bid for the 21-year-old, Kasumu remains firmly a Dons player and very much a part of Liam Manning’s plans for the midfield.
After a break-out season on Dons’ return to League One in 2019/20, Kasumu became a key man in the first part of last season, playing the ‘pivot’ role which previously had Jordan Houghton’s name written all over it.
Following an injury in December though, the midfield needed reshaping and Andrew Surman and Josh McEachran were called upon to do the job Kasumu was doing - highlighting the job Kasumu had done alone until then.
Still a youngster in terms of his age, Kasumu has made more than 50 starts for the club he came through the academy with, and is now taking on a more responsible role in the dressing room by helping other academy players find their feet in the first team.
“I love it here, I've been here a while,” he said. “The transition from a young player coming through to being an established player in a young team, helping some of the other youngsters as well, it's a role I think I'm thriving in.
“I'm looking forward to see how the relationship with the gaffer evolves, and hopefully we can do something special this season.”
One of those academy products, Peter Kioso, has taken a roundabout way of getting into Dons’ first team - coming in on loan via Luton Town after he left the club a few years ago for Hartlepool.
Kasumu played alongside Kioso when they were coming through the ranks at Stadium MK, and he said he was delighted to have one of his old youth team back in the dressing room.
He said: “Everyone knows me and Peter are good friends, I've known him a long time so to play alongside him again, after we were in the same youth team together, is a great feeling.
“We're very good friends off the pitch as well, he's a really good player. I'm glad he's back here showing everyone what he can do.”