Left-back earns reward after bouncing back
Callum Kennedy has been rewarded for his impressive return to form last season by signing a new contract at AFC Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old left-back made 29 appearances in all competitions during 2014/15 and produced a consistency that earned glowing praise from manager Neal Ardley.
It marks an admirable turnaround for Kennedy as last summer he had to prove he was worth another deal after initially being released by the club at the end of his first season here.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “We have agreed terms with Callum and it is fantastic news that he will be with us next season. After some injury problems Callum was not as fit as he could have been in year one of his first season with us, but there was a moment last season when he realised he had to do something about it.
"Callum lost his place to Ben Harrison when Jack Smith got injured and he went away and looked at every facet of his game. Callum is now fitter, hungrier and mentally stronger than he has ever been.Credit must go to Callum and in the review that we had at the end of last season it was clear that the guy has changed his whole outlook. It would have been a shame to let someone else benefit from all of that work that we have done with him.
"He pushes himself so hard in games and often with 10 minutes to go he is galloping down the wing and is hurting by the end. That is the attitude that we want. Callum has improved defensively and if there is a better left foot in the league I'd be surprised.”
Kennedy, who missed the back end of last season with a thigh injury, is now raring to go for pre-season and Neal added that his attitude will be a shining light for new players who arrive this summer.
“When Callum first signed we were trying to work on his intensity in training, but now he and Barry Fuller will set the tone for new players when they come in. They know the training and what we expect from the players.
“We have young Ben Harrison, but now we have added Callum. Last season we had Jack Smith, who had a very good season and it is a specialist position. However, we want flexibility in the way that we play. Callum can play in a couple of different positions that would be of interest to us. He is a good signing, he is great around the place, and he has got a fantastic attitude.”
An eight minute video interview with Neal Ardley, including an update on the manager’s search for new talent, will feature on Dons Player later, along with an extensive interview with Callum Kennedy.