Young full-back's views as featured on our premium site
His first-team debut came in unfortunate circumstances as a substitute during Wimbledon’s heavy defeat at Burton Albion in August, but Jim Fenlon has certainly made rapid progress ahead of Saturday’s match against the same opponents.
With 19 first-team appearances under his belt, including arguably his best performance in a Dons shirt against League 2 leaders Port Vale last Thursday, it has been a breakthrough season for the AFC Wimbledon youth product. And speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player, the 18-year-old believes he is in the right place to keep learning his trade as a full-back.
Below is what Jim had to say to Rob’s questions during a lunch-time interview at our New Malden training complex.
Talking to a few of your colleagues like Will Antwi, they say that it has been important not to look at what other teams are doing and to concentrate on ourselves. That approach has certainly worked this year with eight points out of 12. What is your view on that change in mentality and results?
It has been a great start to 2013. We are unbeaten in four games now. With confidence higher in the squad, hopefully we can get the points to push on up the table and stay in League 2.
Fellow full-back Curtis Osano has expressed his admiration for the progress you have made at such a young age, but after coming back into the team you are now competing for a slot with him.
Curtis is more experienced than I am and I expect him to be playing ahead of me. When I get a chance I have to take it and hopefully I can then get a run in the side. I need to keep playing well so that I can get more opportunities. It is good to have this competition as it will push me on as a player. I have to keep working hard in training and then see what happens. I am still young and if more experienced players are picked ahead of me then I can learn off them and try and improve my game more.
I know that you attended the FA Youth Cup game earlier this season when the Dons were beaten in extra-time. Since moving up to that level you have played a lot of games this season. Have you had to do a lot of fitness work with Jason Moriarty to achieve this?
I have had to keep my fitness and sharpness up and Jason has helped with that. I think when I get put into the side I have to maintain confidence in my ability that I can do it at this level and stay strong.
It must be flattering to hear supporters say you could be Wimbledon’s young player of the year and that you could play at a higher level?
I am fully focused on playing for Wimbledon and helping to get us out of the relegation zone, but it is good to hear things like that. It fills me with a lot of confidence for the future.
We have Burton coming up again this Saturday, a side we had a bit of a disaster against earlier this season. Is it perhaps a different team ethic now?
I believe that some of the games recently we may have lost earlier this season. We are now starting to grind out results. It is looking a lot more positive for us now. We are together as a squad and hopefully we can do a lot better against Burton this Saturday than we did earlier this season.
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Jim Fenlon on our premium site.For the rest of this month, supporters can take advantage of a Dons Player January sale. This offers a subscription for just £18.99 until 18 August, 2013. With exclusive interviews, WDON commentary of every game, and match highlights, you can get the latest AFC Wimbledon news first. Click on Dons Player offer to subscribe.