Youngsters give Dons squad a fresh feel

Dean Lewington
Dean Lewington

Dons captain Dean Lewington is excited at the prospect of seeing some of the younger players come through the ranks this season.

Lewington, who enters his 10th campaign with the club, has noticed a significant change in the atmosphere since the players returned to pre-season training in June, with an injection of young players replacing some of the more experienced faces who left the club this summer.

He said: “It has really changed. With the new wage system coming in, a lot of clubs will find themselves having to promote younger players

“We’re lucky in that we have a fantastic youth system here and the boys coming through here are really exciting.

“There’s a lot of excitement at the moment. A lot of the boys in there are young lads and it’ll be their first season involved.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a breakthrough for a lot of them. It’s a nice dressing room to be part of, and people want to prove themselves.

“It’s inspiring to the older players to see them progress. There’s a few in there that are real talents. It’s really good to see them come in, and from the fans’ point of view, it’ll be great to see local lads coming through.

“They’re not just there because our numbers are small, there here on merit. But we have to be patient because they’re young.

“As captain, it’s a nice position to be in, as one of the senior players, to have an influence and push them in the right direction.

“They’re so confident now though, cocky and sure of themselves. They’re not intimidated by us!”

Lewington admits though that while the younger feel to the squad makes a refreshing change, losing three defenders in the summer could make life tough for them in the first few weeks of the season.

He said: “It takes a bit of time for the new players to learn the way we play. We play and defend a certain way. But they’re all good players and they should be up to speed.

“It’s strange to lose three defenders. Mathias’ contract ran out, with Gary we knew it was on the cards, but losing Adam Chicksen was disappointing because he was a product of the youth team and a Milton Keynes boy.

“It would have been nice if he could have stayed but his path leads somewhere else now.”