Will Nightingale believes that AFC Wimbledon are moving in the right direction with Wally Downes in charge and our home-grown defender said he will be giving his all to push the club forward.
The 23-year-old, who recently signed a new deal at the club he joined at the age of eight, says that Wimbledon can build on the momentum of last season’s strong finish. The start of 2019/20 could also mean that Will passes a personal milestone as he closes in on 100 club appearances after making 93 so far.
“I’m getting towards that landmark and I want to play every single game there is,” said Will. “It would have been nice to stack those games up sooner but certain circumstances have held me back. I am trying to build my games up now, to give me more experience and more know-how and I do feel like my knowledge of the game is improving, which is really good.
“Every time I put on that captain’s armband I am just filled with pride, it sounds a bit funny but I do get a tingly feeling. It’s brilliant every time I get that opportunity. I am going to grab it with both hands to try and show that I do want it. I don’t want to shy away from things like that. I would love to be captain, but whatever happens I’m still going to give it my all for the club. That’s what I’m about and that’s what I always want to do - the main thing is this club.”
We caught up with Will before the squad made the trip out to Spain for a pre-season training camp and he is pictured in training today at La Manga.
The Dons have added five new players so far this summer and Will is encouraged by the make-up of Wimbledon’s squad with just over two weeks until the new season gets underway.
“We’ve got quite a good mix: we have five or six new boys and we’ve had a few step up from the Under-18s and the Under-23s. We are all training together. We’ve got a good group of lads so everyone is going to try and make each other welcome. We are all in one big changing room together and the trip away offers more time for us to gel together.
“We have a lot of the similar boys from last year, the core of the squad is here, and we have to look at that and think about how well we did, and take that into this season. I think anything is possible really. If you really believe in something, you’ve got to really do what you can to make it happen. We have to put in that extra work on the training field. We have Wally from the start of the season now, and he can lay down exactly what he demands from us early on. He’s the sort of person you don’t want to be letting down or disappointing. I am sure we will be more than all right this season.
“The manager is trying to get the ball involved, as early as he can. That’s the most important thing. If you have the ball out on the pitch you aren’t going to concede, so you’ll be the ones on the attack and on the front foot. That’s how he wants us to play. He wants us to be dynamic and he wants us to be a threat. He wants the fans to watch exciting football. At the same time, the manager worked us hard in terms of the defensive aspects of things. Everyone can see how good a shape he set us up with and we were a hard team to beat last year. We are going to go for that again this year, but hopefully with a bit more attacking threat. “
Watch the full video interview below, in which Will also talks about working with Mark Robinson and Vaughan Ryan on the training pitch.