AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has rewarded Tom Beere with a new contract after the midfielder proved he was ready for the rough and tumble of League Two football.
Beere joined the Dons academy at the age of 15 after a failed trial with Championship outfit Millwall.
He has enjoyed a breakthrough year with Wimbledon this term, making 13 first-team appearances, but Ardley has long had an eye on the midfielder.
“I am a massive fan of Tom,” Ardley told the club’s website. “When I first came in Tom was one of the Under-18s who really stood out and Mark Robinson was bullish about him back then.
“The only thing we thought might stop him coming through was his physicality and we put him on a programme with Jason Moriarty. He has put on a lot of muscle mass since then and turned into someone who can handle the demands of League 2 football.
“Tom showed that when he came on against Portsmouth and he helped change the game. He understands the game. Tactically and technically he is very good. I think Tom has a big future in the game.
“The academy did a lot of great work before I arrived, but I have had to improve the first-team squad during the last two years. The squad has got better and we have been able to attract better players. This has made it harder for youngsters to break through.
“Alan Reeves has done a great job in getting our young players ready for League 2 football. As well as improving the first-team, part of my remit when I came in was to help produce our own players.
“This is starting to happen now. Hopefully, with the good work of our academy and the willingness of first-team staff to implement this aim, we can bring more young players through.”
Beere made his AFC Wimbledon debut at home to Southend United in a JPT tie in September, marking his first outing with a goal from the penalty to spot to help send the Dons through.