Defender Darnell Johnson has become our third addition of the January transfer window, having joined Wimbledon on loan from Premier League Leicester City for the rest of the season.
The 22 year-old centre-back follows Reading goalkeeper Sam Walker and Sunderland midfield loanee George Dobson into Plough Lane, as Manager Glyn Hodges aims to get The Dons back up the League One table.
“Darnell can play anywhere along the back four,” said Glyn as our latest signing met his new team mates for training on the all-weather surface at Sutton United earlier today. "He’s been at Wigan and he knows the league.
“It’s one we wanted to do before Saturday’s game at Crewe, but we had to wait until after the weekend. With the injuries we’ve picked up at centre-back, Darnell may start on Tuesday at Doncaster Rovers.
“He’s big, strong, athletic and a good defender who doesn’t want to get beaten. That’s a good template to have. Darnell is in contention to play tomorrow night and he goes straight into the squad. We’ll travel up tomorrow and see how Luke O’Neill is (thigh injury) and take it from there.
“We’ve now got our full quota of loans,” added Glyn. “We don’t want to take anymore because it complicates things and we don’t want to upset our loaning clubs and the players. There might be one more permanent signing, but at the moment they are three good loan deals."
You can see Darnell's first interview for Wimbledon in full below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.
Leicester-born Darnell Johnson will wear the number 27 shirt for Wimbledon.
He joins The Dons at a time with both Terell Thomas and Paul Kalambayi ruled out. Kalambayi is awaiting a scan, after slipping over behind the goal in icy conditions at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
“It’s been pretty quick,” said Darnell. “I came down on Sunday night and then straight in this morning to meet the manager and straight into training, which has gone well.
“The whole club appealed to me. I know it’s a fan-owned club. I was also impressed with the new stadium and the start to the season the boys made. It’s a good platform for me to develop my career. For me personally, with the lads here and the qualities I look to bring to the team, I think if we go right, do our work before the games, and work hard we’ll climb up the table quite quickly.”
Although Darnell is yet to make a senior appearance for Leicester City, he’s been with The Foxes for ten years and is the godson of former striker Emile Heskey. More recently he has had loan spells with Hibernian and in League One with Wigan Athletic.
Having represented England at all youth levels, from under-16s to under-20s, he was also a team mate of former AFC Wimbledon loanee Aaron Ramsdale. Darnell was a member of the England side that won the 2017 UEFA European Under-19 Championship.