Tyler Burey might be starting a new chapter of his football career – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t totally appreciative for AFC Wimbledon’s help in his development.Millwall signed the Uxbridge-based winger, 18, this summer to bolster their U23 squad.
Burey, on the books of Fulham from the age of nine to 13, played five first-team matches for Wimbledon last season – starting in their EFL Trophy ties against Stevenage and Chelsea – but was out of contract at the start of July.
The Lions agreed an undisclosed compensation package with the Dons.
Burey, who made his League One debut as a 72nd-minute sub at Charlton in December, has expressed his gratitude to his former team.
“Not many young players play their first game with their actual club – they are either kept in the U23s or go out on loan somewhere,” said the teenager. “So to make the breakthrough there was a dream come true.
“It’s one of those things you dream about as a young kid – playing on TV or having your surname on the back of a shirt.
“It was a relief to do it and I was so happy. I was doing my second year as a scholar with the first team and managed to get those appearances under my belt.
“I trained with the first team in pre-season, that is when I thought I might get the chance.
“I left Fulham and I was trialling at different clubs. Some clubs were saying no or taking too long to make a decision. I was playing football whenever I could – even school football – then Wimbledon signed me.
“In terms of my debut, everyone has nerves. But I was more excited that this is my chance to show what I’ve got. I did what I do normally on the pitch – and it paid off. The manager was happy with me.”
Burey played the second half for Millwall on Saturday at Concord Rangers.
It’s not necessarily a platform to gauge a player – facing National League South opposition – but his performance was similar to his cameo against the Addicks. Strong, confident and prepared to take his full-back on, pushing them out of their comfort zone. Burey provided the assist for Fred Onyedinma’s goal.
“If I get one-v-one then I’m most positive,” he said. “I thrive on that, and crossing the ball.
“I’m hoping to become a first-team player but at the moment I’m here for the U23s. Whatever the club feels is best for me then I will do it – because they want me to develop.
“I was aware for a bit [of Millwall’s interest] but just kept it quiet – because I like to keep information quiet.
“Millwall talked to the club and agreed a compensation fee. I came down for a meeting and signed on the first day I came.
“I’m still settling in and getting myself comfortable. It’s only a matter of time before I start asking questions to senior players who have got more experience. I’m keen to learn.”
Burey’s boyhood team was picked because of one modern great.
“My idol is [Cristiano] Ronaldo,” he said. “At the time he was at Manchester United – so they were the one for me.”
Ambition is no bad thing. Burey has the family roots to be eligible for Jamaica but instantly outlines his priority is England.
There are plenty of players who have come through to be capped by the Three Lions who did not start off in the Premier League.
And Burey certainly has time on his side, even if his first goal is to impress in Kevin Nugent’s development squad. Young players do get their rewards if they perform – with Toby Sibbick’s recent switch from Wimbledon to Barnsley a prime example.
“Toby has done really well,” said Burey. “He broke into the first-team and done his thing. I congratulate him on the move and wish him the best in his career.”
PICTURES BY BRIAN TONKS