It’s now seven years since Will Nightingale’s first-team debut, but the home-grown defender is relishing playing for the Dons more than ever after Mark Robinson’s positive impact on the squad.
During his academy days, Robbo played a key part in Will’s development and even managed to get his two-year scholarship extended by a further year due to injury problems. Now 25 years of age, Will said that he would ‘run through brick walls’ to earn valuable points for Robbo and the club.
“I have had four managers, so you try to learn and take a bit from each of them, but Robbo has just been so positive and so uplifting for the boys,” said Will. “He’s been a breath of fresh air. He has new ideas and he’s trying to implement a lot of values away from football that you can also transfer into the game as well. It’s just opening a lot of people’s mindsets really. He has got all of the boys onside and that’s why we want to go out there and run through brick walls for him.
“Robbo has been a guiding light in my career. He has always been there and kept me in positive spirits. I have a lot to repay Robbo for, so hopefully I can do that with my performances now. He fills you with confidence and that’s one thing you need in your career. Since he has come in we have shown that we can compete. Even against Peterborough we competed for the first 45 minutes. I think we’ve got to go out in every game and be confident that we can win. I think we are good enough, so hopefully Robbo can help make sure that happens.”
Will has been through difficult times due to injuries, but he passed the 100 mark for Wimbledon appearances last season and he’s always given everything to the club cause. The game versus Hull on Saturday will be no different and Will can’t wait to test himself against a club that were in the Premier League just a few seasons ago.
“I relish these sorts of games,” added Will. “You want to be playing against the top sides because you want to show that you are good enough to play against these teams. Bring it on. I have always said that no matter who you play against you should believe that you are going to win the game. I believe we are in a good place, so let’s go out there and get another job done.
“So much has happened over the years. I’ve had my bad times, as everyone knows, but for me as a person I just want to get better and better. I’ve had tough times in terms of overcoming all those injuries, but I want to keep on improving and get back to my best. I set my standards high and I’m trying to learn and improve.
“Everyone has to concentrate on their own game, but also lead when they can and stand up and be counted, especially in the situation that we are in now. I want to be better every day and every game and that’s all you can do. That’s one thing that Robbo has set: just be the best you can be every day. Hopefully, we will all improve together.
“My Dad is my biggest critic, but he’s also my biggest fan. He misses going to the games, the same as my Mum. They both love speaking to the familiar faces that they know at the club. They are watching it through iFollow, but it’s not the same. They miss the atmosphere, the being in it together, and the spirit. They are missing it, but I was proud the other night for the club to get that 1-0 win at Plough Lane. I can’t wait for everyone to be at Plough Lane. It will be incredible and give us that extra push really, not that we should need it. I can’t wait for the day when everyone is in there and the atmosphere will be electric.”