Surprise when Payne was asked to drop deep to play a key MK Dons role

The midfielder has become a key member of the MK Dons team under Mike Williamson
Jack PayneJack Payne
Jack Payne

Though he may be one of MK Dons' top performers this season, Jack Payne said he was shocked when Mike Williamson asked him to step back from the front line.

Having played for the majority of his career in more attacking positions, Payne started life at Stadium MK in behind the strikers before the arrival of Mike Williamson in October. But after a training ground switch early on in Williamson's tenure, Payne has taken on a more influential role.

Sat in front of the back three and picking up the ball in that pivot-midfield role, Payne has become an integral part of the Dons machine, much to his surprise.

"It was new to me, I've not played there before," said the on loan Charlton man. "When the gaffer came in and asked me to play there, I was a bit surprised.

"In one of the first training sessions, me and Alex Gilbey were swapped and we were both a bit surprised. But he has been brilliant and I've really enjoyed it. That's the reason he's the gaffer, and we're not! He can see those things.

"But I've enjoyed it and played there pretty much every game. I've learned a lot playing there, and I've probably seen more of the ball playing there than I ever have before. It's all about adapting and helping the team as best I can.

"When you're playing in there, you probably get the ball more than anyone else in the team. I might not get as many opportunities to score as when I was playing higher up the field, but it's all about balance. We've got loads of players who can chip in with goals and assists."

He continued: "I'm in a team that is competitive, and fighting for an obvious goal. We want to be in and around it, fighting for the top places. I'm really enjoying it, the work we're doing on the training ground, the information we're given, it's a really exciting time."