Young centre-back's perseverance is rewarded
Will Nightingale’s determination to battle back from an injury nightmare was rewarded against Gillingham when he produced an accomplished defensive performance that earned high praise from Shaun North.
The 18-year-old was a commanding presence in Wimbledon’s defence last night as the hosts won 2-0 in the Premier League Cup, a competition for Under-21s.
Will, who has been with AFC Wimbledon since the age of nine, is finally reaping the benefit of getting a run of games under his belt after having a knee operation earlier this year and he is flourishing in his new position of centre-back.
Shaun said: “Will played very well within a good team performance. I am very pleased because Will has been training like that for a while now. I know he has changed position from a central midfielder to a centre-back, but that is where I think he may have a good future in the game.
“I just felt that he was very commanding at centre-back; he is very strong, committed and knows when to attack the ball. His two feet are not bad either, but he has got good defensive qualities.”
Despite being highly-rated as a player coming through the ranks at AFC Wimbledon, Will barely played a match for the Under-18s due to a catalogue of injury problems.
Our picture above shows Will (right) with Academy Manager Mark Robinson after the club received approval from the Football League in May for him to continue as a third-year scholar because his birthday was just a few days outside the cut-off point for the Under-18s.