Will Nightingale wants every player who pulls on the shirt to be a leader, regardless of who is wearing the captain’s armband.
The 23 year-old centre-back handed the captaincy back to reigning player of the year Deji Oshilaja for last weekend’s draw at Coventry, but Will is far from phased by that.
“We’ve all got to pull in the same direction. We’ve all got to be leaders, especially with the position we are in,” said Will in an extensive interview with our premium iFollow Dons subscription channel. “The most important thing is the club and retaining our League One status. It’s what the fans deserve and it’s what the club deserves.
“We’ve got 19 games left. Some people may think that’s not a lot, but the way I look at it is that’s 57 points still to play for which is more than enough points to stay up. It’s obviously about doing it. The fact that we’ve got enough points to actually keep us up, more than enough, it’s an opportunity. We’ve got to grab it with both hands.
“The manager wants as many players out there as possible to choose from. We’ve got to be the ones that make his job hard. The more options he has - the better it is for the club. When the gaffer gave it to me he said ‘not to mess it up’. I think that I gave it my all, but Deji is our club captain and he came in and gave a great performance on his first game back. The most important thing for me is the club. Little things like that don’t really bother me.”
Competition for the centre-back spots is fierce ahead of the visit of high-flyers Barnsley on Saturday. Academy graduate Paul Kalambayi has earned a place alongside Deji in the back line and Terell Thomas is back in contention. Will has been deployed in a midfield role in recent weeks.
“Paul has done brilliant,” said Will. “I’ve played quite a few games with him in the under-23s and he’s a great player to play with. He’s strong and you know what you are going to get with Paul. Everyone who has come in to the position has performed well really. I’m happy to play wherever I am needed. I’m putting all personal things aside at the moment and I want to do my best for the club and I’m going to give it my all – for the boys, the fans and for the badge.
“I think if we can get a 0-0 there, then I think at home we’ve got to be thinking let’s go for the win. The mentality we’ve got to have now is to win every game. Saturday is a chance for three points; get the home crowd behind us. It’s the first home game of 2019, let’s start it off right and let’s show a bit of intent to the other teams in and around us, because I think we’re good enough to get out of this mess. We’ve just got to start showing some intent with it.”