Former Arsenal wonderkid joins 'next Gerrard’ in League One midfield

Mark Randall has finally signed a deal with hometown club Milton Keynes Dons - can he still make something of his promising career?

On the 24th October 2006 young Arsenal midfielder Mark Randall made his debut for the club. He came on for Denilson in a League Cup match against West Bromwich Albion.

The 17-year-old had impressed in the reserves and was therefore given the call-up to the first-team.

A stylish, composed midfield player with an eye for that incisive pass Arsene Wenger was always said to be a big fan of the Milton Keynes lad throughout his time at Arsenal.

He went on to feature 13 times for The Gunners including two appearances in both the Premier League and Champions League however these all came in his earlier Arsenal career.

He went on to spend time on loan at Burnley, MK Dons and Rotherham United before leaving The Gunners and signing for newly promoted League One side Chesterfield.

However he struggled with persistent wrist and shoulder problems as the physicality of the league was not conducive to his sumptuous style of play.

And after the 2012-13 season in League Two Chesterfield boss Paul Cook let him go - suggesting Randall is not built for lower league football:

"We're still looking for a central midfielder, but it will be a strong, aggressive, holding type of midfielder. We thank Mark for everything he's done and wish him every success for the future."

So, with everyone telling him he isn’t built for lower league English football he headed to Italy - where he hoped his technical style of play would better appreciated at Ascoli.

He impressed to start with - but due to financial concerns at the club he was let go in January.

Since then he has been on the lookout for a new club - and he has found one very close to home.

He has signed for hometown club MK Dons - with their manager Karl Robinson stating:

“It’s taken longer to get over the line than we would have liked. I’m now looking forward to having Mark available to select. He’s from MK, he’s a talented footballer and he suits our style.”

The Dons like to play their football - and Randall certainly fits that bill.

But the move also gives Robinson the chance to play a potentially fruitful central midfield pairing.

He has been singing the praises of Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United target Delle Ali in recent weeks - especially after he scored his first ever career hat-trick on Tuesday night.

He said he can become as good ‘as Steven Gerrard’ after his most recent performances - and while Randall is some way off being a starter for now the prospect of these two playing together is certainly exciting.

With the Dons just outside the playoff places - this might just be the signing that gives them that extra nudge.

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