Rebuilding confidence has been key in rebuilding Tucker

The MK Dons defender has brushed off last season’s disappointment with a strong start under the new head coach
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Defender Jack Tucker says he has been growing in confidence on the pitch since Graham Alexander allowed him to play with more freedom since taking over.

After coming under fire in his first season at the club last year, Tucker has emerged as one of MK Dons’ key performers this term.

Playing at the heart of the back three, the 23-year-old has looked far more comfortable on the ball, showing off his range of passing more commonly than he was ever allowed to last term.

Tucker said that was down to not only the faith head coach Alexander has in him, but also the confidence he has instilled with regards to making mistakes on the field.

“He’s given me the confidence that if it doesn’t go right, do it again because it doesn’t matter,” Tucker explained. “You’re not worried about whether one goes right, thinking you don’t want to do it again.

“The gaffer made it clear in his first call to me that he didn’t care about last season. He didn’t want any negative mindsets creeping into this season, and that was ideal, it’s what I wanted to hear as a player. I wanted a fresh start and a chance to put it right.

“Everyone who was here last season is really grateful that we’ve started well, and we’re ultra keen to get things right.

“I’m being asked to do different things this season. I took some time to adjust last season, but now it’s something new again. I’m staying in the team, doing what the manager is asking of me.”

Rebuilding Tucker’s confidence is something Alexander spotted early on after taking over at Stadium MK.

And though they are only seven games into the new regime, the head coach believes the defender has responded.

“Tucks has grown,” Alexander said. “I could see doubts in his mind in pre-season, but I think the more we’ve progressed as a team, the more he’s understood what we’ve asked of him.

“I showed him clips of top players making passes he can make, but they weren’t always successful and they still tried it again. We’ve got to get away from trying to be perfect, it won’t always be perfect but you have to keep trying.

“And that’s where Tucks needed confidence in me, knowing that if it didn’t work, try it again next time when it’s on. You can make a mistake, we like the thought, ambition, the mindset.”