Nombe 'a stepping stone' between youth and experience

Sam NombeSam Nombe
Sam Nombe
The striker wants to help the next group of youngsters establish themselves

Sam Nombe believes he can help MK Dons' next group of academy products become more entrenched in the first team after his rapid rise through the ranks.

At the start of last season, the 21-year-old was a fringe player at best, but injuries to strikers Joe Mason and Rhys Healey forced Paul Tisdale to take a punt on the youngster, and it paid off as he netted four goals in as many games before suffering a long term injury himself.

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Returning under new leadership with Russell Martin, Nombe was in and out of the side but was a regular in the first team squad and looks to be filling a similar role again this season.

Nombe celebrates with David KasumuNombe celebrates with David Kasumu
Nombe celebrates with David Kasumu

With the likes of Matthew Sorinola and John Freeman both impressing in Dons' cup games this week, Nombe says he wants to encourage the younger players into the fold, and believes his position in the squad allows him to do that.

"I'm a stepping stone," he said. "I'm in the gap between the experienced players and the young players coming in. It's my responsibility to help them push on. We're all here trying to get into the team and progress as players."

Nombe is one a number of academy graduates in the first team of late, having come through the ranks with Callum Brittain and David Kasumu for many years. The 21-year-old said having friends come through into the first team with him has made the transition easier and more enjoyable seeing them succeed too.

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He said: "You can be on that journey alone, but I've come through with so many others who have gone on to different careers but to com-e through with David and Callum is great. We came up as a group together, and we're helping each other.

"We've all been through the academy together, we've all had those same experiences and it's fantastic to have those people you've grown up with by your side."

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