Lewington has been vital on and off the pitch for Manning

MK Dons 2-1 Charlton Athletic

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 1:21 pm

Dean Lewington

Skipper Dean Lewington may have only got his first minutes of the season as he came off the bench on Tuesday night against Charlton but his impact has been felt everywhere else at the club since Liam Manning took over.

The 37-year-old stepped into the breach when Russell Martin left the club, taking training in the absence of any coaches, leading them to within 20 seconds of a brilliant win over Bolton Wanderers in the League One opener, and then helping them set up again for the visit of Sunderland on Saturday ahead of Manning’s appointment.

Back in more familiar surrounds of the pitch, Lewington was excellent in the second half at Stadium MK on Tuesday after replacing Daniel Harvie at the break, leading the defence and bravely throwing his head on the line late in the day to stop the Addicks from getting a stoppage time equaliser.

Manning heaped praise on the skipper for his role not only in the team on Tuesday, but in helping the new head coach get his feet under the table at Stadium MK.

“He's been terrific since I got here,” said Manning. “He came on, he built on what we had first half, and showed a lot of maturity and seniority that the squad needed at the end.

“Before the game, what he brings in the changing room is outstanding. He was great to have him make a positive impact as he did.

“He's desperate to play. He epitomises everything in terms of his love of football. You see it in how he trains, how he plays, how he talks about the game. What he brings in those late moments in the game, talking, organising is vital for us to pick up points.”