AFC Wimbledon rising star wins EFL Younger Player of the Month for April

AFC Wimbledon’s Ayoub Assal has been named the EFL Younger Player of the Month following a powerful three goals and two assists within the month of April, as Mark Robinson’s side upturn in kind secured their League One standing subsequent season.

The Dons had been ruthless of their struggle for survival because the League One season drew to a close, and one player on the coronary heart of all of it contributing three goals and two assists in April alone was thrilling young teenager Ayoub Assal. 

“It’s a great achievement to be recognised,” he said, chatting with the EFL. “I’m really happy to have received the award. I feel it’s a great praise to me and all of the hard work I’ve put in not too long ago to make the primary team and it’s good to obtain some reward for my performances.”

The 19-year-old first broke onto the scene in March, making his debut for the membership against Shrewsbury City – a sport during which he additionally scored his first goal for the membership. Since then the midfielder has dazzled opponents along with his tempo, directness and willingness to take on defenders at each alternative and in doing so, has develop into the newest teenager to thrive on the EFL stage. 

Having been picked up at U9 level by Millwall, as a 12-year-old Assal made the decision to make the change from the Den to AFC Wimbledon with the hope that at some point first-team football would come. A courageous name at such a young age, however one which has paid dividends, as Assal has since develop into the newest graduate of the Dons’ academy to make the step as much as the primary team. And a memorable debut it was too, as he scored along with his first contact after coming on as a substitute. 

“It’s each boys dream to play for a membership from such a young age and then make their debut for that membership,” he said, recalling his debut. “I keep in mind each single contact.”

“I keep in mind the goal really well, too. We had been 1-0 down and I keep in mind getting the decision to go and heat up, I used to be ready to come on. It occurred so shortly after that. I really suppose the goal was my first contact, I keep in mind the ball coming throughout to me and I just put my foot by way of it. Seeing it hit the back of the net to make it 1-1 was a tremendous feeling, I’ll undoubtedly always remember it.

“Each young boy needs to come into the primary team and make an affect and that was my dream. It was a journey and a course of that took some time with a number of hard work and sacrifices, however it occurred and that’s a very powerful factor.”

Ayoub at Accy 2.JPG

It’s a moment he hasn’t appeared back from. Within the following video games, he went on to net 4 goals in 14 extra appearances, and grew to become a key determine in Wimbledon’s resurgent run to security.  

Robinson’s side had been relentless of their struggle for League One survival, winning three consecutive league video games in April alone, in the end lifting them to security. And nobody has benefited extra from the promotion of Mark Robinson from Academy Manager to First Team Manager than Ayoub Assal, whose affect on the team grew week by week within the final video games of the season. 

“Survival was key for the entire membership. We wish to be in League One and it was at all times our purpose to outlive. The manager is somebody I’ve labored with earlier than within the U18s, so guaranteeing survival under him and for him made it all of the extra particular.”

Following the departure of Glyn Hodges as manager, Robinson was appointed interim boss in January 2021, earlier than being appointed completely a month later. He had beforehand held varied academy and teaching roles on the membership, creating the subsequent technology of Dons talent. 

“He’s played such a big half for me from the minute he stepped in,” Assal continued. 

“He’s helped me a lot all through my career thus far, however greater than something it’s the truth that he’s given me a chance. As young players we want a chance, then when you’re on condition that chance it’s as much as you to take it. That’s what I wanted and that’s what the manager gave me.

“After my debut, I keep in mind him saying to me that I needed to kick on, that I hadn’t achieved something but. He saved my feet on the ground and informed me that the hard work wanted to continue. I appreciated that and I agreed with it.”

Upon taking the reins, Robinson not solely steadied the Dons ship, however received his team enjoying a ruthless type of football that impressed all these watching from afar. 

“For me, a very powerful factor is that, when he got here in we had been in an actual relegation battle, however we by no means stopped enjoying football. We didn’t change how we wished to play to get outcomes, we played football in our type and that was essential. 

“The team played such a big half in my performances that month as well. Everybody welcomed me with open arms from the minute I stepped up into the primary team. They let me categorical myself on the pitch, which helped me carry out at my best as a result of I used to be snug on the ball. They let me come on, be part of the team and do my factor.”

{The teenager} qualifies for Morocco by way of his mother and father, who had been born there and earlier this year was referred to as up for a Morocco coaching camp at U21 level, an expertise he’ll not solely keep in mind for an extended time, however one which has fuelled his international aspirations. 

“It was a great expertise for me. The type of play is completely completely different to right here in England, it’s not as fast-paced however it was a great expertise as a result of I used to be enjoying with people who find themselves enjoying for golf equipment all over the world so it was a really good studying curve for me. International football is a big factor for any footballer in order that’s undoubtedly one thing I’m aiming to do extra of as I get extra expertise.”

So with Wimbledon securing League One standing for subsequent season, what’s subsequent for the teenager?

“I’ve a target for subsequent season,” he admitted.  “However I’m not going to say the quantity, I’ve received to back myself to do well. Extra importantly I wish to play an element within the team and put in big performances week in, week out to assist the team. We must be pushing as excessive up within the table as potential subsequent season.”

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