We are delighted to announce that home-grown defender Will Nightingale has signed a new contract at AFC Wimbledon.
The centre-back, who ended last season as captain and played a key part in maintaining Wimbledon’s status as a League One club, today put pen to paper on a new deal. It means that Will extends his stay at a club he’s served since the age of eight and he will be a part of our future at an exciting time, as we gear up for a move back to Plough Lane.
At the age of just 23, AFC Wimbledon are retaining the services of a defender with his best years in front of him and Will spoke of his pride after committing his future to the club he joined as a child.
Speaking shortly after signing the new contract, Will said: “It’s the news I wanted really, it’s been an ongoing process and I’ve had a lot of fans ask me about it for quite a while now. This is the third time I’ve signed a professional contract at Wimbledon and I’ve been here for my whole career. This club is what I know, it’s what I’m about, and I’m over the moon to sign. I had a couple of other offers and little bits of interest, but this is where I wanted to be.
“I played a good amount of games last season and I think that in the centre-back position you are only going to get better with matches. I would like to think that there is more improvement. No matter whether you are of World Cup standard, Champions League level, or a League One defender, I think you can always improve. I’m not the sort of person who is ever going to stop, I am always going to look at where I can improve.
“I am always going to analyse my game and criticise myself. I am hoping I can get back to my best. I think when I broke into the first-team I was getting a lot of hype, but I don’t think I’ve ever got back to the standards from that time. Maybe I took a dip in confidence and the injuries played a part, but now I’ve been fit for the last two seasons. I think since Wally came in as manager he has started to instil that confidence back in me. The manager has nailed down the basics and he’s been a big part of my improvement. I believe he can take me forward to the next level in my game.”
Will made his debut as a late substitute against Carlisle in January 2015 and he has made 93 appearances in all competitions for The Dons.
Chief Executive Joe Palmer said: “Will’s performances at the back played a key part in us staying up last season and we are delighted that he’s decided to remain an AFC Wimbledon player. There was interest in Will from elsewhere, so it’s a testament to him that he wants to stay here and be a part of our plans at an exciting time for the club, both on and off the pitch. Will is also a real ambassador for the club, as shown by the fact that he received our PFA Community Champion award once again last season. His work in the community also demonstrates what this club stands for as we gear up for a return back to the heart of Wimbledon.”
Take a look below at Will’s message to supporters shortly after signing a new contract and an extensive video interview will follow tomorrow.