Is George Williams the first name on the MK Dons team sheet?

George Williams
George Williams

Since Robbie Neilson arrived at Stadium MK, there has been a lot of chopping and changing, but at least one constant - George Williams.

The 23-year-old returned to MK Dons after being released as a teenager by Karl Robinson, going through university on his way back to the professional game.

Many considered the signing of the versatile full-back to be as cover for George Baldock and Dean Lewington. But his performances this season, and certainly under Neilson, have proven he should be one of the first names on the team sheet.

"He's a really steady player and he's a good guy to have around," said his manager, who has picked Williams to start every game since he took over in December. "He can play a number of positions and when he comes in he has been exceptional.

"I know the story about him, and he has done fantastically well.

"I thought the other night (against Bury), he was one of the stand-out players."

At Gigg Lane, in the absence of Lewington and Darren Potter, Williams was handed the captain's armband ahead of the likes of experienced heads like David Martin and Dean Bowditch, not for the first time this season, and was the best player in a Dons shirt as he led by example at centre back.

Neilson continued: "I had a look around the dressing room, and I thought there were a couple who might be able to do it. I spoke to Lewie and David Martin, and they felt George was right to do it. He just got on with it."

The question now posed is where he fits in with the defence now everyone is fit again - Scott Wootton aside. Ironically, Williams' versatility could be his biggest flaw as he plies his trade across the back four, rather than honing one position. But he has pace, his diminutive size disguises his powerful aerial ability and he is vocal, barking orders from whichever defensive outpost he's assigned to.

Williams should be seen as the first real successor to Lewington's left-back position Dons have ever had, but the skipper's fleeting yet promising stint at centre back in December show there's potential for Neilson to instigate a three/five man defence, with Baldock and Williams on the flanks.

And with the emergence of Ben Tilney, who made his first league appearance at Bury, Neilson's the defensive headache for once is a positive one.

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