A big season ahead for Callum Brittain

Callum Brittain
Callum Brittain

Dons' promotion back to League 1 was a relief to everyone involved in the club, but for Callum Brittain, it should see him return to his finest form.

Dropping from League 1 to League 2 proved to be a tough transition for the young defender last season. Hotly tipped during his breakout season at Stadium MK, picking up England U20s caps, establishing himself as a first-team regular, dropping down a division should have seen Brittain come on leaps and bounds - but it did not.

Brittain was one of Dons' top performers in pre-season

Brittain was one of Dons' top performers in pre-season

READ MORE: Brittain would be happy to play for MK Dons if they get relegated (from 2018)
The more physical nature of the division, combined with a new role asked of him by new boss Paul Tisdale culminated in a patchy, indifferent campaign in the fourth tier. Unseen in the side for nearly three months in the middle of the season, the popular Brittain returned to the first team only when Dons were in the midst of a defensive injury crisis, and his performances were just enough to help the club edge over the line and secure promotion on the final day of the season.

In a 'more predictable and organised League 1' according to coach Mel Gwinnett where Brittain first cut his teeth, the full back should get back to the sort of form seen of him before relegation. Without the direct, more physical nature of League 2, Brittain will be afforded a little more time on the ball, more freedom to exploit his attacking tendencies, and if pre-season is anything to go by, a few more opportunities in front of goal.

Albeit against non-league opponents for the most part, Brittain was one of the stand-out performers this summer. Three goals in five games, including a brace against St Neots last time out, left him atop the scoring charts as he popped up in the penalty area with regularity. Happy to play in defence and midfield, and with competition rife for positions, his performances in pre-season should earn the 21-year-old a spot in the starting line-up against Shrewsbury on Saturday when Dons finally kick off their League 1 return. He looked lively, quick, eager to be on the ball, and desperate to impress.

Consistency will be key though. With the likes of Baily Cargill and Jordan Moore-Taylor still edging towards full fitness, adding to the congested nature of the backline, Brittain's talking must be done at both ends of the pitch. With inexperience no longer a viable excuse, Brittain needs to emerge as a ready-made asset to Tisdale, rather than a youngster worthy of a gamble.

Brittain netted against Brackley and St Neots in pre-season

Brittain netted against Brackley and St Neots in pre-season

Stepping back up to a level where he is familiar and is proven to be capable should allow him to do that.