Lewie still checks on Dons' academy products

Dean Lewington spends 20 minutes on his phone after games checking on how former MK Dons academy players have got on on a Saturday.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 4:41 pm
Dean Lewington with Sam Nombe

The captain has seen plenty of players come through the youth system at Stadium MK, with the latest duo - Sam Nombe and David Kasumu - impressing in recent weeks.

And with the likes of Dele Alli and George Baldock now playing in the Premier League, Lewington says there is a great sense of pride in seeing the former academy players thriving.

He said: "Most of the boys who make it to the first team have been training with us since 16, 17 and you follow them after that, and see how they progress.

Former Dons George Baldock, Dean Bowditch and Dele Alli were at Saturday's game against AFC Wimbledon

"It's great to see the boys make it, but for every Sam and David, there are 10 boys who don't. It's always nice to see it when they do. It's the same for all the boys who come through, I still sit on my phone for 15 minutes after the game looking at how the likes of Tom Flanagan, George Baldock, Adam Chicksen, Sam Baldock – you go through because you're proud of what they're doing."

England international Dele, and Sheffield United's George Baldock were both in the stands watching Dons beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 last Saturday, and went into the Dons' changing room afterwards to chat with Lewington, who admitted: "They're all big-time now! No, they were loitering outside the dressing room on Saturday, we took them in and with Reevesy back now, there were a few more boys in there who might have known them.

"They were great, coming in to chat – it was like old times. You have that connection with people, and you just fall back in with people like old mates. They were chatting to the boys they knew, and some of the newer lads came over for a chat. They gave Sam and David a pat on the back – they're the next two off the production line.

"Especially for the boys in the youth team, it's great to see someone who has played here progress to the heights that he has. And George, especially with his journey – going to Iceland, and dropping down the leagues on loan before coming back. He's a really positive story. There's not just one route to the top and now George is getting rave reviews at Sheffield United and doing really well.

"It's nice to know we've had an impact on them and they want to come back and watch. It says a lot about the club we are and their affection for it."