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Will's "a great role model"

15 January 2014

Academy graduate features in a new section on the official website

It was a proud day for the AFC Wimbledon Academy when Will Nightingale received a first-team call-up on Saturday and Mark Robinson believes he is a perfect role model for young players at the club.

http://www.youtube.com/user/AFCWimbledonTVThe 18-year-old has put a catalogue of injury problems behind him with his performances for the Under-21s and Neal Ardley said that Will has made a “positive impression” this season. Will, who joined Wimbledon at the age of just nine, is pictured above right with Mark Robinson. A short video interview with Neal about producing young talent is available by visiting 

to view the section titled “Home-grown and Hungry”.  http://www.afcwimbledon.co.uk/team/academy/Will’s example sums up exactly what the AFC Wimbledon Academy is looking to achieve and the official website now has a new section with Under-18 player profiles, a summary of aims, achievements and status, along with information on how to join the academy. Visit

Speaking about Will’s elevation to the first-team squad on Saturday against Torquay United, Mark Robinson said: “It meant a great deal because Will has been with the club since he was nine years of age. His game-time has been limited in the past three seasons due to injuries, but he has worked so hard to get himself fit. It was fantastic for the academy that he was called up on Saturday and he is a great role model for the rest of our youngsters.

“Neal feels that centre-back is Will’s best position and he will have to adjust to that because he has played in central midfield in the past. But I am sure Will can continue to progress and if he shows the same attitude that he has so far then I’m sure he will get to where he wants to be.”

Neal Ardley said: “I obviously want to create a good first-team, but I genuinely want to be a manager who produces our own players at the same time and gives them a pathway. Obviously, timing is important and if you get that wrong you can kill a kid’s progress. We need to be trusted that we will get it right because we have a lot of experience in it. Will is a player who has done really well. We need to get him over his injuries, but he has made a positive impression on us all.”

We wish to thank volunteer webmaster Sean Conner for his help in setting up the new Academy section on the official website.


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