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11 appearances, 6 starts.. How Anthony Hartigan won EFL League One Apprentice of the Year

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There’s still something very romantic about AFC Wimbledon, they’ve picked up the previous fairytale of the original club and added their own plot lines to a truly remarkable story.

As if the original club going from non-league to FA Cup winners in a decade wasn’t enough, the whole MK Dons debacle unfolded and they reformed in the basement divisions, only to climb back up to the Football League.

This season is the first where they may finally finish above their nemesis, an achievement worthy of its own Hollywood film.

There are many players on the stage who deserve a mention, but a relative newcomer to the cast is the subject of today’s FLW Spotlight.

Anthony Hartigan might not be a name you’re familiar with, but last night he scooped the League One Apprentice of the Year award, perhaps the first sign of his vast potential as a player.

Whilst Wimbledon haven’t had a successful season by usual standards, one shining light has been the emergence of Hartigan.

He’s made 11 appearances for the Dons, six of which have been starts, but that only tells a small piece of the picture.

He’s been ruled out since late January with a knee injury, one that looks to have ended his season early. Was it not for that he may well have had significantly more first team experience.

He made his debut in the EFL Cup back in August, playing the whole 120 minutes and becoming the first Wimbledon player born in the 2000’s to make a first team appearance.

He started a league game a week later, coming off after 69 minutes, the first of two appearances in which he started but has been withdrawn.

He a ball playing midfielder, described by manager Neil Ardley as; “always asking questions, always looking at himself and being critical, so he doesn’t want to point the finger, he doesn’t want to hide.”

He’s won four fouls in his relatively short first team career, remarkably conceding just two, one of which earned him a yellow card. He’s a cultured midfielder with a calmness that belies his years, one of the main reasons he scooped last night’s award.

He’s just 18-years old and has the world at his feet.

Upon his return he is likely to drop straight into the AFC Wimbledon first team and from there he can only get better.

Couple his continued exposure to League One football with his eagerness to learn and he might just be one that we are all familiar with in a couple of season’s time.

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