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Young Dons defenders aim to follow in Paul's footsteps

Loan deals help build character says giant centre-back

11 February 2020

Paul Kalambayi feels that spells out on loan will benefit both Archie Procter and Reuben Collins in following his example of breaking into the first-team.

Both young centre-backs made their debuts for their new sides on Saturday. Reuben signed for National League South side Billericay and Archie (pictured) penned a deal at Evo-Stick South Metropolitan Police.

“It’s good for them to get that experience and play men’s football,” said Paul. “You need to get the win; you need to get the three points.

“When I went on loan at Tonbridge I got stitches in my first game and in my second game I got elbowed in my eye! Those learning curves help you when you come back, so that you’re stronger physically and you’re ready for the men’s game.

“It’s not an under-23s game, where you’re learning and you can make mistakes. There’s no room for errors. You go on loan to get experience, so that when you come back onto the pitch for the first team on a Saturday or a Tuesday you can be relied on and trusted by the gaffer.”

Paul has gone on to make over 40 first-team appearances for The Dons since his debut on New Year’s Day last year at Portsmouth.  He returned to training on Monday, after damaging an AITFL, a ligament between your tibia (shin) and fibula (lower leg) bone, in early December.

“Going on loan has been good for me,” said Paul. “I’m always learning and asking questions, always listening to the gaffer and always doing what is needed for the team.

“As long as you keep that mentality then the games will come. I look to give myself the best opportunity to be selected, apply what I learn in the game and try and help the team not to concede. It’s always good to have a positive attitude.”

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