A song of fire and ice for Dean as he reclaims his Dons throne

MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson piled praise on strikers Max Dean and Emre Tezgel after the 5-0 win over Walsall
Max DeanMax Dean
Max Dean

Max Dean needs match the fire in his belly with ice in his veins, according to head coach Mike Williamson after his emphatic display against Walsall on Good Friday.

Coming on ten minutes into the second-half to score a brace and lay on two more for those around him, Dean inspired Dons to their biggest home win for three years, when Will Grigg scored four in the similar 5-0 demolition of Swindon in April 2021.

Not long back from injury, Dean managed 32 minutes in the disappointing thumping at Stockport last weekend, but his home return was one to remember.

"It took him about 32 seconds to make an impact!" said Williamson afterwards. "What an introduction.

"He's a special lad, but without the boys, the understanding and the detail, he doesn't have that impact.

"He still has a lot of room for improvement, and that's the scary thing. His ceiling is incredibly high, that tenacity he has, I don't think he needs any more fire in his belly. It's now about ice in the veins.

"But what do you do with someone who had that fire but support and help him, and let him do what he does."

Tezgel's excellent performance prior to Dean's arrival

Emre Tezgel opened the scoring for DonsEmre Tezgel opened the scoring for Dons
Emre Tezgel opened the scoring for Dons

From one young striker to another, Dean replaced teenager Emre Tezgel who had, until that point, been Dons' stand-out. After ploughing a lonely furrow at Stockport, the Stoke City loanee was involved in everything in the first-half, capping his excellent performance with the opening goal as he poked home Joe Tomlinson's cross from close range.

Williamson was delighted for the 18-year-old to claim some of the plaudits afterwards for his impact in the game too, saying: "He's here to learn and grow, and we can all see his strengths as a player and as a person. He's not had a great amount of game time, but whenever he's on, he gives you so much consistency.

"Today, he was fantastic. As long as he keeps that understanding, the outcome will keep improving no matter what. He's a good player, he's got some extremely good traits.

"He was a really good platform for us, and I was really pleased for him to get the goal."