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Interviews

First Impressions: Ayoub Assal

An in-depth interview with our number 10

22 April 2022

Most Dons fans know Ayoub Assal for his skills and drive on the field of play, but he's also revealed that he packs quite a punch in the ring!

The influential midfielder took some time out after training in the sun at the Cherry Red Records Stadium to lift the lid on his personal life and background during a sit-down interview with Chris Thorpe.

Ayoub discusses his love for martial arts, his favourite music artist Drake, Maths being his go-to subject at school, and much more, as we give you an insight into what makes our academy graduate tick.

You can read and watch the full interview down below.

FANS

They’re a big part of the game. Scoring a goal, hearing them cheer. They have been amazing with me. I would like to thank all of them. Hearing the fans cheer my name makes me go that bit harder.

SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m not too active on it but the fans know about my main account. You have to be very careful when it comes to these things. I’m sensible with it. You can use it to your benefit, as we’ve seen with a lot of players.

BILLERICAY TOWN

It was my first loan. It started off really well and the manager there liked me. A few things happened and then fortunately I got recalled by Wimbledon when Robbo had the job. And that led to my opportunity against Shrewsbury away, so it was a blessing in disguise. It’s helped me and shaped me the way I am now.

HIDDEN TALENT

When I was younger, I used to do a lot of Judo and Kick Boxing. I took it very seriously. I did it alongside football, so on my days off I would do a bit of Judo or Kick Boxing and every now and then 'till this day I can squeeze a session in. It’s good for you mentally.

ENGLAND

The call-up was great for me and my family. All that work that you put in as a young player, to finally get that recognition was an amazing feeling. I got the call whilst I was sat next to my mum from the England manager. It’s something I’ll never forget. It’s a great place for any player to learn, develop and grow. It’s not just me, there are a lot of people in the background that have helped me and they’re still helping me now.

GAMING

I’m not a bad gamer to be fair! I’ve played a couple of the lads in the changing room, and I’ve had a couple of wins. Real Madrid is my go-to team. Benzema and Vinícius Júnior give you that great link up play. I have a pro club with some of my friends outside of football too.

SCHOOL

I went to school in Blackheath. It was a good school that has produced a couple of footballers in the past that have done well. I like Maths. I was in the top set, so that’s something I was good at. My family encouraged me to focus on both my education and football.

MARK BOWEN

The gaffer has been great since he’s come in. It’s been good to have an opinion from someone that wasn’t here before. He tells me what I need to improve on, how to impact the game, and how to get my numbers up.

MUSIC

My go to guy is Drake. That’s who I listen too on matchday. He’s up there (as one of my all-time favourite artists). Hopefully next time he performs over here I can go and see him live.

INITIATION SONG

Mine was a duet with Hus (Huseyin Biler). So, I got away with it a bit! It was a song by Calvin Harris. It was awful! You wouldn’t want to hear it! But it’s one of those things you have to do as a young player that’s coming up.

AFC WIMBLEDON

Coming through the academy as a young player and now doing it at first team level is what every boy dreams of. All the way back to when I was 12 or 13, rushing after school to get the train and the bus from Deptford to get to training. All of those sacrifices have been worth it. Plough Lane has been a magical place for me.

FINAL TWO GAMES OF THE SEASON

I don’t mind the pressure at all. That’s when I have to be focused and alert. These last two games are big games. There’s no hiding place. They’re must wins. The fans know it and the players know it. Getting three points against Fleetwood is our main focus.


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