Kabongo Tshimanga will be rewarded for his hat-trick in the Youth Cup on Wednesday night with a place on the bench for MK Dons’ FA Cup first round clash with Port Vale on Saturday.
The 18-year-old has been in sensational form for the U18s, netting 27 times already this season.
With manager Karl Robinson set to ring the changes ahead of Saturday’s trip to Port Vale, Tshimanga will get his first taste of first team experience as a reward for his fine form.
“He will be on the bench on Saturday as a ‘well done’ for what he’s done,” said Robinson on Thursday. “We can’t turn our nose up at the kid for scoring 27 goals in the youth team.
“You know my passion for bringing young players through the system. He scored an OK goal, a penalty and an absolute wonder goal, so he deserved the plaudits he’s getting at the moment.
“He scores goals. He’s quick, he’s powerful, he wants to run at people, he’s a constant threat. We don’t have anything like him in the first team, but I suppose he’s a bit like Benik (Afobe).”
But while Dele Alli has been integrated in the first team for more than a year, and is the same age, Robinson believes Tshimanga still has a lot to learn.
He said: “He’s someone we have to be careful with. Kabongo is someone who is someone who has scored a lot of goals, but still has an awful lot of learning to do. But there are so many other elements of his game he could improve.
“It’s getting used to the rhythm of training, travelling, hotel, per-match, warm-up, game, recovery and everything that goes along with it. He’s someone I believe that has to learn this other side of the game now. His path has been quite steady so far.
“When you look at our record with young players, there aren’t many who argue we don’t do it well.”
Despite all the changes though, Robinson is still keen to take FA Cup seriously.
He said: “As a young English football fan, it’s something that’s embedded into you. The FA Cup was always the showpiece to the season. It always has a special place in our hearts and in English football.
“It creates so many memories.
“We want to go as far as we can, starting with Port Vale on Saturday.”