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Will Nightingale had no complaints about missing the pre-season training camp in South Wales and he fully appreciates being nursed back to full fitness by the management team.
The 20-year-old missed most of last season with a serious knee injury, only returning for the last game of the regular campaign against Newport.
channel.You TubeThough he missed out on the squad for Wembley, Will travelled with the rest of the boys and the experience provided inspiration for his future career. A clip of Will and George Oakley being interview for Dons Player is on our official
Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday night and an appearance for the development squad was far removed from the surroundings of the national stadium, but Will thrived on being back involved.
“Dover was a physical game really and I needed a couple of days rest,” said Will. “The manager and coaching staff thought it would be more beneficial for me to get a run-out at Raynes Park to build my minutes up for the pre-season games against Reading and Palace. They are probably more important than a few days with the boys in Wales. It was great to get my fitness levels up. It is going well for me and I feel strong now. I just need to tidy up on some things, but that is the whole idea of pre-season really. I want to be at my peak ready for the start of the season.
“It was a great day out (at Wembley). It was nice to be with all the boys as it is a squad game. You are all there together on the day psyching each other up. It was disappointing to not make the squad, but I was not naïve about it – I had been out a long time. I played against Newport, but I did not expect to stake a claim for a place because the boys had done so well to get there. I am really appreciative to the coaching staff for still keeping me involved. It was nice to get the opportunity to see what it was like.”
Will is certainly excited about the season ahead in English Football League One next season and he believes the whole squad can rise to the challenge.
“It’s going to be a massive year for the club in League One,” added Will. “I feel that the boys are quietly confident, but you never really know until the season starts. Everyone is buzzing and we cannot wait for it to get started.”
George Oakley put a particularly tough time behind him by playing for 30 minutes at Raynes Park – his first match action since breaking a leg in January.
Now he aims to repay the faith shown in him by Neal Ardley after an injury-hit spell that derailed the rich potential he demonstrated at youth level.
“It’s been a difficult two years for me because I’ve been in and out,” said George. “I’ve not been getting the games I would have wanted, but the manager must still be able to see something in me. I just have to push on now, manage my body, and get more games under my belt. You have a lot of questions going on in your head after you first get injured, but the medical team and support from the manager make it much easier.”