New signing Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz says he is determined to make a success of another chance to prove himself at AFC Wimbledon.
With pre-season now almost at an end, Mikhael admitted that he thought a move to another professional club in England had passed him by. However, the goalkeeper has a steely drive to succeed in his latest opportunity in English football. Mikhael has played football in four different countries, including Romania, America and back home in Venezuela, but he believes that his move to Wimbledon can bring the best out of him.
“I was very close to being a Wimbledon player last year as I did all the pre-season with the team,” he said. “It was sad in the end that I did not sign, but because of that work I believe that the manager chose to call me. I know it is at the end of pre-season and it did not take me long to accept the offer. I believe in my ability as a goalkeeper. I have also worked before with the goalkeeping coach (Paul Priddy) here and I believe Wimbledon will know how to get the best out of me. Many will agree that goalkeepers can be in their prime when they reach their 30s and I am 28 years of age now. I look after myself and it is great to be back in professional football.”
Speaking to our WDON commentator Rob Cornell (listen to full interview by clicking on Dons audio), Mikhael believes he will be at home at Wimbledon. As well as being friends with Paul Priddy from their time together at Aldershot, Mikhael knows all about our number one Seb Brown as they were in the same class at university. The 28-year-old says he will draw on his wealth of experience from around the world to rival Seb for the jersey and his spell at Dover last season was not too bad either.
“I played 62 times for Aldershot and 45 games for Dover,” he added. “During the first half of last season we had the best defensive record in the league at Dover, but as it was a part-time club I continued to train with Wimbledon on Mondays and Fridays last season. Wimbledon have followed what I was doing and it is a great opportunity for me. I do not know if I am creating a good impression for South American and Venezuelan players as I am doing my own thing. I now live over here with my family and my boy was born here two years ago.
"I am confident that I can prove my ability. I first turned professional in Romania and played for CRF Cluj and I have played football in different countries. I have not had an easy chance to gain opportunities. I have had to fight for trials and second chances to prove myself and that is me as a character. Nowhere else in the world is football so competitive in the fourth division. Crawley and Stevenage have achieved back-to-back promotions in recent years and the competition is very good. I am very happy and playing back in the league again is prestigious for me.”