Promising centre-back Ryan Sweeney has committed his future to AFC Wimbledon by signing a new deal.
“Ryan has put pen to paper today on an extension to his contract that will keep him here for the foreseeable future,” said delighted manager Neal Ardley in an interview to Dons Player.
“Its great news and we want our young, talented players to be at the club for a long time and he certainly comes under the bracket of being a first team player now. I sat down with the board and said I wanted to offer Ryan a new deal, even before he got in the first team. He’s trained with us regularly and been excellent for the under-21s and we see him as a fully developed character coming along now,” added Neal.
Neal credited Development coach Alan Reeves for the role he has played in making the Republic of Ireland under-19 centre back ready for first team life.
“In a short space of time, Ryan has come from playing under-18 football to playing a couple of games at the back end of last season,” said Neal. “Alan Reeves has got hold of him and worked with him on his heading and his aggression and tried to turn him into a centre-half that can handle League Two. ‘Sweens’ has taken that on board and it’s not always easy to add aggression to your game when he’s been playing at a slightly different, cultured level of football and that’s the part that has impressed me the most.”
“He’s hard to play against in training now and the strikers don’t enjoy playing against him. He knows what he has got to work upon – for example, when he comes up against smaller, more nimble strikers, but he’s six foot four, he’s left sided, he’s got good quality on the ball, he’s aggressive and he’s done a wonderful job for us in this run in.”
“Put all that together and with him and Will Nightingale we feel we’ve got two of the hottest young prospects out there in that position.”
Sweeney has made nine first team appearances this season, taking his opportunity following an injury to defender Karleigh Osborne, on loan from Bristol City.
“My heart is set here. I want to play for Wimbledon,” said Academy product Ryan Sweeney talking to Dons Player. “Every day I come into training to try and better myself. Every time I put on the shirt I feel a sense of pride when I cross that white line.
“I’m delighted to sign a new contract with AFC Wimbledon.”
“The gaffer approached me and said he was going to offer me a new deal and I’m really pleased with it. I think I’ve progressed this season and especially over the last 18 months I feel I’ve come a really long way and my game has improved as a defender and also on the ball.”
“Neil Cox and Alan Reeves have really transformed me, so I couldn’t thank them enough for this and obviously the gaffer for giving me my chance. Hopefully I can repay them for the work I’ve been doing this season.”
Dons Player subscribers can see the full interviews with manager Neal Ardley and Ryan Sweeney, talking about his new deal, on our premium channel.