Glyn Hodges believes that he has unearthed another gem from non league by snapping up 21-year-old midfielder Ethan Chislett.
The South African-born talent becomes Wimbledon's fifth summer signing after leaving Aldershot Town, where he scored nine goals from midfield in his first season at National League level. Ethan’s debut campaign in the fifth tier of English football really caught the eye and he had scouts from league clubs watching him, as he made 38 appearances for the Shots after joining from Metropolitan Police.
Ethan is reunited with Nesta Guinness-Walker with the pair having starred in a memorable FA Cup run for Met Police that ended in the first round at the hands of Newport County.
Speaking about his addition, Glyn Hodges pointed to Ethan’s midfield creativity as a key factor in the decision to bring him to Wimbledon.
“He is a skilful player and we want to keep trying to evolve, to pose different problems to teams, and he we will give us a different dimension,” said Glyn. “We can change formations, tweak little things, and with his goals and attacking play he will be a threat for us.
“There’s such an abundance of talent at non league level that we had to do our due diligence and know what was out there. We’ve done that. We’ve signed two from Conference clubs with Cheye (Alexander) and now Ethan. They are two players that have earned the chance to step-up and I hope they are successful for the club.
“We are not going to have the same numbers in the squad this season, so we’ve got players that may have to switch and fill in at different times. If we have players able to play in different positions, that’s great. It gives us another string to our bow.
“Ethan is a player we knew about because he played in the same team as Nesta. When we had a couple of visits to watch Nesta his name came up as highly recommended. We have followed him since then and we looked at him again in January when he was at Aldershot. He had a great season there, scored a lots of goals, and he was tremendous, so I’m glad that he has agreed to come and join us. He’s a different player to our other midfield players. If you look at the midfield now there is a great mixture of talent in there.”
After moving to England as a boy from South Africa, Ethan played for Guildford Saints, where his father Donovan was his manager. Though spells with pro academies, including Southampton, didn’t work out, Ethan furthered his football development by playing Futsal and had a spell in Spain, before returning to these shores to reignite his career at Imber Court with Met Police.
In his first interview with us after joining the Dons, 21-year-old Ethan said he will relish the challenge of making his mark at a much higher level, something he has managed to do previously.
“There were some talks here and there (with other clubs), but as soon as Wimbledon came in for me it was a no-brainer. League One is obviously a massive step-up from National League, but I moved up two leagues previously when I joined Aldershot from Met Police, so hopefully the transition goes as smoothly as it did then.
“At Met Police I was more of a number eight, but in the National League it was more physical, so I was more of a number 10 or a left winger. I feel I’m obliged to get goals as well as assists and to be creative around the final third, so hopefully I will bring some of that to Wimbledon. The manager said that we drew a lot of games last year, so we maybe need that creative spark, and hopefully I will bring that to the table.
“I’ve come from humble beginnings with the non league background. It’s a massive club that I'm joining with great history. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve joined, but also to look forward to the future and I think the club is only going to go forward and progress. With Glyn in charge, it’s definitely going to be positive. The manager talked to me about the players that have been brought through here and it’s a young bunch, but there are experienced heads here too because you need that balance. Hopefully, we can achieve something special.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell's full interview with Ethan shortly after he signed.