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Neal names new AFC Wimbledon captain ahead of Fleetwood

Manager makes key announcement before big kick-off

2 August 2018

Neal Ardley today announced that Deji Oshilaja will be AFC Wimbledon's new captain.

During two spells with the Dons, 25-year-old Deji has so far made 71 first-team appearances in all competitions and he ended his first season back here as the club's Player of the Year for 2017/18.

Our manager also revealed just two days before Wimbledon's opening match at Fleetwood that Liam Trotter will be vice-captain.

Speaking during an interview for iFollow, Neal said: "Many things go into selecting your captain: how the player is respected by their peers, what the rest of the squad think of him, how he is around the ground with taking on board what you want and running the dressing room. Therefore, our captain will be Deji Oshilaja and our vice-captain will be Liam Trotter. Both bring different qualities. 'Trotts' is a very intelligent guy and the players respect him very highly, so he will bring that experience and know-how to the group, maybe to keep that camaraderie together. Deji will probably be the one who puts the armband on and leads by example on the pitch."

See below for a video clip of Neal announcing his captaincy decision and you can watch the full interview on iFollow.

Wimbledon go into the match at Fleetwood on Saturday with the squad having received a fresh injection of talent. The signings of Ben Purrington, Tyler Garrett, and Rod McDonald made it 10 summer recruits for Wimbledon and Neal Ardley talked enthusiastically about creating the right spirit in his new-look squad.

"We are going to take everybody up with us," added Neal. "We have 20 in the first-team squad now and I think for the first game it's really important to get a team camaraderie and togetherness. Even if one or two don't end up in the 18-man squad, we just want to take everyone up and have a bit of bonding with everyone together. We're all in it together and with seven games in the first four weeks I'm sure the squad will need to be used.

"We had the blow with Meadesy, but other than that we are nearly full strength. I think the key for me is looking at who is probably ready fitness-wise to start the first game. You don't want three or four players in your team that are probably just short of minutes because that first game can catch you out. You probably need to try and keep as many of the boys as you can that have done a pre-season in and around that starting line-up."

Look out tomorrow on the official website for a full preview of the Fleetwood match.

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