By Chris Slavin
George Long came through a “baptism of fire” to make over 100 appearances for Sheffield United, but it’s been a smoother transition to life at AFC Wimbledon and he is relishing the experience.
Speaking to iFollow ahead of the League One match at Bury, the man who became United’s youngest ever keeper in league football, talked about how his career is progressing since swapping Bramall Lane for Wimbledon.
“Being the youngest keeper at Sheffield United was a big moment for me,” said George. “I was 17 at the time and we were in the Championship when we went away to Swansea. Three or four of my team-mates from the youth team also made their debuts as well, so it was quite special, but we ended up getting beaten 4-0. It was a baptism of fire against a Swansea team who got promoted to the Premier League.
“When I look back now, I am very proud to have made 100 appearances for Sheffield United. I’ve come to Wimbledon and I feel I am getting better again. I want to push on now. There have been ups and downs, but right now I am in a good place and improving all the time. I just loved the environment here from day one. I’ve settled in so easily. It’s a real family club: the fans, staff, and players are intertwined. There is a community feel and you get to know a lot of people after games in the lounge and stuff like that. I know about the history of the club now and it is a really enjoyable place to play football.”
To view the full interview with George, click on the link below.
The mood around AFC Wimbledon has certainly been boosted by the events of the past week with a trip to Wembley and a meeting with Spurs as reward for beating Charlton. George’s fantastic save at 1-1 against Charlton was instrumental in that victory and he took plenty of satisfaction from playing such a vital part.
“It was quite pleasing, especially because it meant something in the context of the game,” added George. “They had a spell of about 10 minutes at the start of the second-half when they were on top. Fortunately, they did not score from the rebound, but you earn that little bit of luck. With the save, it is something you work on in training. Bayzo gets the mannequins out and we take deflections off them. For it to come off in a game and to make that save was brilliant.
“I was watching the draw at home and when I saw Tottenham come out I was thinking, ‘come on, pull us out here’. Jermaine Jenas pulled it out and it is a great draw. Everyone is buzzing and looking forward to that game, but it is a few weeks away yet. We have league games to concentrate on, which is very important. The important thing is to pick-up points and keep that momentum going into the Tottenham game. It is an exciting prospect.
“It’s not going to be easy (at Bury) with the conditions up north in winter. It’s a tough place to go, but everyone has played in these sorts of games. We have an experienced team and we know what it’s all about. If we put our stamp on the game and start brightly we have more than enough quality to get the points up there.”
An update from Neil Cox ahead of the match at Bury is also on our iFollow channel.