Versatile player returns for a second spell
AFC Wimbledon today completed a first summer signing after beating off competition from elsewhere to bring Jon Meades back for a second spell.
Still only 23 years of age, Jon had offers from other League 2 clubs after leaving Oxford United, but he decided that a Wimbledon return was his number one choice.
Of course, Jon was a popular figure during his last spell at the club on loan as he made 25 appearances during AFC Wimbledon’s dramatic survival in 2012/13, a campaign that also ended with a Young Player of the Year award for the Welshman.
Having featured at left-back and in various positions across the midfield during that season, Neal Ardley views the player’s versatility as a big plus.
Speaking during an interview with Dons Player, Neal said: “Jon will naturally want to hold down one position. I have told him it is up to him if he wants to do that, but he can be an outstanding left-back, an outstanding left wing-back if need be, and an outstanding central midfielder. He has all the physical and technical attributes to do that. Jon still lacks that little bit of experience, but he is powerful, 6 ft 2 inches tall and can handle the physical side of this league. I think by the end of the season we could have a very good player.
“Jon is a very under-rated player and we tried to keep him here, but Oxford lured him with a very good deal. That was unfortunate at the time. Sometimes people say you should not go back to a club further down the line, but we proved with George Francomb that a player can come back and be a success.
“Jon had a terrible time in his first season at Oxford after breaking his ankle and then he ended up not getting a run of games under different managers. I think it was a big pull for him to come back and play for a manager who knows how good he is and believes in him. At this stage of his career he needs to have two big seasons to re-establish himself.”
Born in Cardiff, Jon joined his hometown club at the age of nine and progressed through the academy under the guidance of Neal Ardley, before making one first-team appearance. He joined AFC Bournemouth in 2012 and he has also had a loan spell at Moss FK in Norway.
An extensive update with Neal Ardley will follow soon on Dons Player, along with an exclusive interview with Jon Meades.