Defender encouraged by display against Watford star
Will Nightingale is learning more about the art of defending every day from experienced centre-back Karleigh Osborne – and he is excited about being a part of the first-team set-up for next season.
A sign of the 19-year-old’s progress is that last year he was not involved in the pre-season training camp to La Manga, but this time he will be packing his bags for Spain on Monday.
And the Dons academy product has welcomed the prospect of more competition at centre-back if Neal Ardley does manage to bring in another defender.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Nightingale said: “I have been trying to learn off Karleigh. He is giving me tips most days in training, which I am grateful for. He talks well and you can see that Karleigh is a good player. He has been at Bristol City and played for a lot more years in the position than me. If the manager brings in someone else then hopefully I can learn off him too.
“I can understand why the manager is planning to bring in another centre back. I will not let that knock me and I will be doing everything I can to make the manager think that I can contend for a spot. I will just learn off whoever is playing, keep fit, and if I get my chance I can hopefully take it.”
Nightingale did his chances no harm by turning in an impressive performance for 45 minutes against Watford last Saturday. With Millwall to come tomorrow and La Manga around the corner, Nightingale is relishing being a part of it all.
“Watford and Millwall are both big clubs,” Nightingale added. “It was great to play against the likes of Troy Deeney. He is probably one of the best centre forwards that I have marked. I did not feel that he caused me too many problems, but I have a big respect for him because he is a good player. I am looking forward to this Saturday as well. Hopefully, I can get some minutes and give it everything.
“It is very exciting for me. I did a bit of pre-season with the first-team last year, but I have come on a lot with my game since then. I did not make the cut for La Manga last summer so it is good to be going this time. I think the last time I went on tour with AFC Wimbledon was to Aberystwyth with the Under-13s or Under-14s!”
The full interview with Will Nightingale is on Dons Player, along with Neal Ardley’s update ahead of Millwall.