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Deji: I’ve matured as a player

9 June 2017

By Rob Cornell

Centre-back Deji Oshilaja is confident AFC Wimbledon are getting an even better player, having become Neal Ardley's second summer signing.

The 24 year-old a became a firm favourite two years ago, when he joined on loan from Cardiff City, and went on to win the Dons' Young Player of the Season award for his commanding displays at the back.

"I've definitely matured more as a player and I think I've learned a lot playing in League One and playing in the lower leagues as well," said Deji in an interview with our new, premium iFollow channel. "It's just something I need to implement and get onto the pitch now for Wimbledon and show the guys I've got a lot more qualities."

Subscribers to our iFollow channel can view the exclusive interview with Deji Oshilaja via the link above.

Having made 23 appearances in his first spell for Wimbledon, Deji returned to parent club Cardiff and was then loaned out again to League One rivals Gillingham, where he amassed over 50 games for the Kent club.

"Neal wants me to come in here and be a leader and play my game," said Deji. "He knows the qualities I bring and the fans do as well. He wants me to step into the team and make the position mine. We've got good quality players in central defence, but I'm sure that if I play to the best of my ability and add my qualities to the game, the team will do well.

"The team has moved on well since I was last here and is very good going forward. We've got a lot of good attacking players and the team looked solid as well when I played against them. It was something I noticed and they had a very good first season in League One."

Wimbledon's second summer signing is excited at the prospect of what Neal Ardley is hoping to achieve ahead of the Dons' second season in Sky Bet League One. His additions follows hot-on-the-heels of striker Kwesi Appiah's return to the club.

"Bringing in Kwesi (Appiah) is a big statement and the other players here are top players as well. It's something I'm looking forward to being a part of and we can do well next season."

Deji's bond with Neal goes back to their days together at Cardiff, when the Dons manager was in charge of the Welsh club's academy. That relationship between the two was a key factor when it came to him making his mind up on where he wanted to go next in his career, having become a free agent.

"I had a few offers from other clubs, but as soon as i spoke to the gaffer here it was definitely something where I thought this is the place for me. I thought I'm going to enjoy it here and do well. Neal was the one that gave me my first scholar and I've always got a place for him in my heart and he likes me as a player, so I'm looking forward to working with him again."


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