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FOOTBALL: Rising star Giorgio Rasulo is making his mark
OXFORDSHIRE teenager Giorgio Rasulo is living every schoolboy footballer’s dream.
The 16-year-old attacking midfielder, from Hanwell, near Banbury, has embarked on a professional career with Milton Keynes Dons after signing a one-year contract.
He became the youngest player to feature in an FA Cup tie for the npower League One club when making his debut at the age of 15 years and 295 days in the 6-1 home win over Cambridge City in a first-round replay.
And he also scored a last-gasp winner for England Under 16s in their 1-0 victory over Scotland at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
Rasulo, who is studying for his GCSEs at Warriner School, Bloxham, before taking up a two-year scholarship with MK Dons in September, said he has only ever wanted to be a footballer.
“It has been my dream since I was little, getting up in the morning and watching Match of the Day and singing along to the theme tune,” he said.
He joined the MK Dons academy as a 14-year-old after being spotted playing for Bloxham in an under 12s tournament at Brackley by a scout.
And manager Karl Robinson gave him his opportunity to step up to the first team in this season’s FA Cup “I was just really happy and couldn’t stop smiling,” said Rasulo, who supports Napoli as his dad, Gaetano, hails from Naples.
“In the replay I managed to get on for about 20-25 minutes. I had a shot which the keeper saved and went out for a corner, and an assist.
“It was just incredible celebrations and the atmosphere was amazing.” Rasulo, who has played for Oxfordshire Schools, was then called up by England Under 16s manager Kenny Swain, the former Aston Villa full back, for their final match in the Sky Sports Victory Shield.
And, after coming on as a substitute for the second half, he curled home the winner deep into injury time, which made England champions for a 12th successive year.
“It was incredible to play for your country,” he said. “It is what every little boy dreams of.
“I played a one-two with a player in the team (Callum Cooke) and he went to shoot and it got blocked and fell to me, and I put it into the top corner.
“I just remember everyone jumping on top of me and screaming. I was really happy.”
He made his second first-team appearance for MK Dons when coming on as a substitute for the last three minutes in the goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the third round.
Rasulo was an unused substitute for the 2-0 replay win, as he was for MK Dons’ famous 4-2 victory at QPR in round four.
“To see us win and be around all those players in the Premier League was a different experience altogether,” he said.
“For me to get to the top level would be my ambition.”
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